It’s become a part of the uniform for many of us, and masks have become essential in combatting the spread of COVID-19, however, it has given rise to increased reports of associated dry eye.
This happens, especially if the mask is poor fitting, and exhaled air funnels upwards and across the surface of the eyes. In turn, this may accelerate tear film evaporation causing ocular surface irregularity and discomfort.
This problem can become exacerbated especially in mask wearers who have pre-existing dry eye, contact lens wearer and people who have to use a mask for an extended period of time, use in air-conditioned environments, use in front of screens (e.g. health care workers, food preparers etc.). In turn, they may find themselves touching their face and eyes all the time, possible with unwashed hands, which may increase their risks for an infection and spread of the virus.
Tips we can offer our patients include: ensuring the mask is well fitted, using lubricant drops and limit screen time and time in an air-conditioned environment. Although MADE can make us uncomfortable, don’t ditch the mask!
Moshirfar, M., West, W.B. & Marx, D.P. Face Mask-Associated Ocular Irritation and Dryness. Ophthalmol Ther 9, 397–400 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40123-020-00282-6
White, D.E. MADE: A new coronavirus-associated eye disease. Healio.com. June 22, 2020. Accessed Sept. 10,