Skip to main content

We are happy to announce the opening of our new McKinney location opening on April 30th!

Home »

dry eye syndrome

Is Your Face Mask Causing Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome Treatments At Switalski Eye Care

Dry Eye Syndrome Treatments At Switalski Eye Care

Social distancing and face masks have become the first line of defense in preventing COVID-19. These protective measures are essential to fighting the virus’ spread.

While masks help protect you and others from COVID-19, eye doctors have seen an increase in dry eye cases among those who wear them.

If you’re seeking effective relief, contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano as soon as possible. We’ll offer the best solutions for your mask-associated dry eye (also known as “MADE”).

What is Mask-Associated Dry Eye?

Eye doctors have been seeing an increase in dry eye cases at their practice. Patients with existing dry eye syndrome complained that their symptoms worsened when wearing a mask, while other patients complained of first-time symptoms.

Dry eye symptoms result when fast movement of air caused by exhalation leads eye tears to evaporate. A face mask that doesn’t fit securely can push air from the mouth and nose upward onto the eyes.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome causes the eyes to feel gritty, sore, irritated, and dry, and can potentially damage the cornea, if left untreated.

Dry eye syndrome is typically caused by a number of reasons, including health and eye conditions, gender, age, and taking certain medications. Dry weather conditions, indoor heating, air conditioning, and not blinking sufficiently — which is common when staring at a computer screen — can also contribute.

How to Prevent Dry Eye

Here are some easy measures you can take to reduce dry eye:

Mask sure your mask fits correctly

If your mask doesn’t fit properly, your breath will escape from the top of your mask, potentially causing dry eye symptoms. To prevent this, choose masks that fit snugly under your eyes and around the bridge of your nose.

Limit your time in dry environments

If your mask is causing your eyes to feel dry, try to limit your time in windy or dry-air environments, such as windy outdoor weather and air-conditioned rooms.

Keep in mind that people tend to blink less frequently when staring at a screen or reading a book. Blinking provides your eyes with much-needed lubrication, so remember to blink!

Use a warm compress

If your eyes are irritated and sore, dampening a washcloth with warm water and placing it on your closed eyelids for a few minutes can help. The warmth of the water can help stimulate your tear glands to produce more liquid and oil to help keep your eyes lubricated throughout the day.

Use eye drops

Using eye drops can provide the extra lubrication your eyes need to prevent them from drying out. Your eye doctor can advise you on the best drops for your eyes.

Speak to your eye doctor

The best way to minimize your dry eye symptoms—whether caused by a face mask or something else—is to consult your eye doctor, who will examine your eyes and prescribe treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Eye Syndrome

Q: Why do my eyes sting when I wear a mask?

  • A: When wearing a loose mask the exhaled air goes into your eyes, which can cause your eyes to sting. So make sure it fits snugly around the bridge of your nose.

Q: What kind of face mask is best to prevent dry eye?

  • A: Ideally, you should wear a face mask with a pliable nose-wire so that it can curve to your cheeks and nose, which reduces air directed toward the eyes.For more information about keeping your eyes healthy while wearing a face mask, contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano. We can help determine the underlying cause of your dry eye and offer you the best solution.


Try These 5 Home Remedies For Dry Eye Syndrome

Quality Eye Care At Switalski Eye Care

Quality Eye Care At Switalski Eye Care

If your eyes sting, burn, or feel scratchy you may have dry eye syndrome (DES), a condition that is usually caused by low-quality or low production of tears.

There are many factors that can cause dry eyes. Smoke and dry air can dry out the eyes, and so can wearing contact lenses, taking certain medications, and spending long periods of time reading a book or looking at a computer screen. In addition, our eyes tend to get drier as we age.

No matter the cause, dry eye syndrome can be extremely uncomfortable, and in severe cases can damage the cornea.

While only Dr. Switalski can diagnose and treat dry eye syndrome, these 5 home remedies may provide some relief.

Warm Compresses

A warm compress will improve oil flow through your eyelid glands and clean your eyelids. You can make them at home with a small face cloth and warm water or purchase compresses at your local pharmacy.

Eyelid Wash

A great form of preventative care is eye washing. Washing your eyes you can keep your tear ducts and eyelids from getting blocked.

To help remove crust from your eyelids and eyelashes and to keep your eyes cleaner, try applying a sting-free shampoo. Some pharmacies sell over-the-counter eyelid and eyelash washes to clean these areas.

Add Omega-3 to Your Diet

Oils are a necessary component of tears, as they add lubrication and reduce evaporation. Dry eye syndrome can result from insufficient oil, so adding omega-3 to your diet can increase the oil in tears.

To increase your omega-3 intake, either take supplements or eat foods that contain high levels of the fatty acid.

Foods that contain Omega-3 include:

  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Palm oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts

Take Frequent Breaks and Blink More

When watching TV, reading, or using the computer many people forget to blink. It’s important to take breaks and blink more to inspire the flow of tears, which helps keep the moisture in your eyes intact. A well-known rule to follow is the 20-20-20 rule. It involves taking breaks at least every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds — especially when staring at a computer screen or digital device for long periods.

Tweak Your Environment

Environmental factors can cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Heat, dust, smoke, pollution, high winds, and air conditioning all dry out our eyes. Using a cold-mist humidifier and not sitting directly in front of an air conditioner, heater, or fan can help reduce eye irritation.

Stay Hydrated

Last but not least: drink more water! Staying well-hydrated is good for your eyes and is critical for producing healthy tears, clearing out debris, blinking, and seeing comfortably. Be sure you drink lots of water to maintain your eye health, and of course, overall physical well-being.

Home remedies can relieve mild dry eyes but are not a replacement for a comprehensive eye exam. If the symptoms persist or worsen, contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano. We are committed to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Brian Switalski

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Plano, Texas. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.