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How to Cope with Mask-Associated Dry Eye (MADE)

With the COVID-19 pandemic among us, expert and government recommendations have prompted mandates for face mask use in addition to social distancing. The use of face masks helps thwart coronavirus transmission. As the world emerges from shutdowns and the season changes from summer to winter, the imposed use of face masks for extended periods will increase.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, these preventative measures are essential. However, a new phenomenon is emerging: increasing reports of dry, uncomfortable eyes. Is there a science behind this trend, who is at risk, and what are the solutions?

Mask-Associated Dry Eye (MADE) was first described in June by an ophthalmologist who noticed an increase of these patients. A study published in July examined the issue further. Existing dry eye disease patients report worsening symptoms. Previously asymptomatic people are now complaining of dry, uncomfortable eyes, accompanied by inconsistent vision. These symptoms seem to occur most when reading or using digital devices for an extended amount of time.

Face masks drastically reduce the outward spread of air from the mouth and nose; however, exhaled breath still needs to diffuse. Masks that fit loosely against the nose cause the airflow to extend upward, forcing a stream of air over the surface of the eye. Those who wear glasses are familiar with this effect, as lens-fogging often occurs when a mask is worn. This repeated cycle can lead to dry eyes when masks are worn for extended periods. People who insert contact lenses daily are especially susceptible to dry eye since the ocular surface is already compromised by the lens.

There are a few ways to alleviate MADE. First, ensure your face mask fits appropriately, especially when wearing glasses. For prolonged use, consider applying athletes’ tape along the top edge and nose area. Consult with your eye care professional and utilize lubricating eye drops. When possible, limit time in air-conditioned, windy, or especially dry environments. Lastly, take regular breaks from digital devices.

To read further, check out the original article or read this manual for tips on how to wear a face mask if you suffer from dry eyes. For a more permanent MADE solution, contact the Rohr Eye & Laser Center to schedule an appointment for laser vision correction today.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.