I welcome you to my blog once again. The corona virus still persist in many parts of our world and so i always like to remind my readers to stay safe and stay healthy as we all continue to adhere to the protocols and measures put in place my health authorities.
Today i want to discuss the theory behind an observations made by many eye care practitioners and how we can take care of ourselves.. Lets talk about Dry Eyes and Nose Masks.
Dry Eye Disease is one of the most common conditions present to eye care facilities day in day out. The condition arises from a dysfunction in the integrity of the tear film. The tear film which comprises mainly of lipid, aqueous and mucous has lots of roles it plays to ensure our eyes remain healthy.
One of the many functions include keeping the surface of the eye moist at all times, when this function is impede Dry Eye Disease arises however dry varies in severity based on the component of the tear film compromised. Irrespective there is a simple solution to dry eye and thus simply lubricating the eye and reinforcing the tear film.
Aside the tear film integrity factor there are also external factor believe to contribute to the development of dry one of which is a dry-humid environment. It is also the reason why lots of patients who work in air-conditioned environment report with dry eye in most cases.
The Covid19 pandemic has made it such that nose mask is not longer and observation with surgeons or health workers but we all, this lead to more cases of dry eye and irritation been reported from nose masks wear.
The theory looks at breathing out air on to the eye. Now at first instance one would wonder why anyone would breathe out on to their eye but wearing nose masks may actually direct the air you breath out up and on to your eye. This air that we breath out is humid due to the fact that tears drain into our nose and down our throat. These tears evaporate and come out along with exhaled air.
If you are wearing nose masks for 3-4 hours a day, consider it as someone blowing air over your eyes for this stipulated time frame every day. Then also this air is warm and from basic knowledge in physics we know that warmer or hot water evaporate faster than a more cooler water, thus this rapid cooling and evaporation from the ocular surface may also contribute to one getting dry eye.
Factors that are already associated with Dry Eye Disease such as air-conditioned environment and long term usage of technological devices such as smartphones without breaks may further exacerbate the situation when added to a case of nose masks associated dry eye.
Prevention is always better than treatment however there are instances where one cannot really do much about a situation and so it has to happened but before talking about treatment options here is what you may do to minimize its occurence;
- Take regular breaks from your laptop or phone, the 15-15-15 rule may help alot.
- Consciously blink at regular intervals, am alarm or reminder may do you a lot of good.
- Do not stay in an air-conditioned environment for too long especially whiles wearing a mask and a spectacle.
Treatment mostly involves the use of ocular lubricants or artificial tears to supplement the integrity of the tear film however it may also be used as prophylaxis if you believe your environment or working condition poses a great threat to you developing dry eye.
Please do consult you Optometrist before initiating any kind of eye care treatment or prophylaxis.
Been susceptible to dry eye disease as result of nose masks does not in anyway give you a reason not to wear you nose mask especially in this pandemic era. It is a well proven method of protecting one from contacting the virus and so please wear you mask and practice the prevent options already discussed and you should be fine.
Thanks for reading and have a great week, Special thanks to my mentors and supporters @mcsamm, @tj4real, @armandosodano, @delilhavores, @gentleshaid, @agmoore. For further reading;
Moshirfar, M., West, W. B., Jr, & Marx, D. P. (2020). Face Mask-Associated Ocular Irritation and Dryness. Ophthalmology and therapy, 9(3), 397–400. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40123-020-00282-6