The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to many changes in our daily routines. From a spike in grocery deliveries and to-go orders to the shutdown of some bars and restaurants, this novel coronavirus’s impact on society has been great, and it isn’t over. One of the most encountered changes is the need to wear face protection when you’re out in public. Face masks come in all shapes and sizes, and their purpose is to help stop the spread of the virus by blocking the expulsion of contaminated particles. While these masks are important for the safety of everyone, many daily face mask wearers have noticed they have a not-so-pleasant side-effect: occasional dry eye.
Why Do My Eyes Feel Dry After Wearing a Face Mask?
One of the contributing factors of this unfortunate effect of face masks is thought to be the fit of the face mask itself. Often, masks have a bit of a gap at the top towards the eyes. This gap allows exhaled air to escape and gives it only one direction to travel: up. This air is then blown directly onto the eyes, causing them to dry out and become irritated. The Centre for Ocular Research and Education has created an infographic in many different languages to display some other causes of this dry feeling. Normally, this would be a slight inconvenience that many would overlook, but this dryness and irritation can cause people to rub their eyes or touch their faces. These actions have been heavily discouraged by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because they’ve been linked to aiding in spreading the virus. Many state and local health authorities encourage people to wear masks when in public, and there’s no end in sight to these regulations. So, what can you do to help your eyes feel more comfortable? Supporting your eyes’ natural ability to lubricate themselves is a great way to ward off the dry, irritated feeling associated with wearing a mask.
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