Exhaling while wearing a mask can force a stream of air over the eye and cause eye dryness, but eye care professionals can incorporate screening into exams and offer solutions to patients, according to the Centre for Ocular Research & Education.
Mask-associated dry eye (MADE) can affect people with pre-existing dry eye disease, older people with generally poorer quality tear film, contact lens wearers, and people who work extended hours in air-conditioned settings or while using digital screens, the researchers said in a press release.
However, the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) said MADE is not a reason to avoid wearing a mask.
“Responsibly wearing a mask, even when having to contend with eye dryness, is a critical part of overcoming the global pandemic,” CORE director Lyndon Jones, PhD, DSc, FCOptom, FAAO, said in the release. “The good news is that we understand MADE and can address it — an opportunity for ECPs to further communicate their knowledge and ongoing value to patients at a time when sound, scientific guidance is needed more than ever.”
The organization also said in the release that “a good approach with any new eye-related concern” is for patients to check with their eye care practitioner.