Wearing a mask can cause a rash of skin complications, pardon the pun, including acne and dryness. But eye doctors say that donning masks can also trigger ocular conditions such as dry eye and damage to the delicate skin under your eye. Another problem, say doctors, is that masks can hide critical symptoms that affect the eyes.
According to Well + Good, Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton. M.D., an oculofacial plastic surgeon, says that when we wear a mask, the airflow from our breath is redirected toward the eyes, causing them to feel dry and gritty. To combat this, the doctor suggests using eye drops such as Refresh, Genteal and Systane.
“Steer clear of drops that make claims like ‘get the red out,’” she advises. “Those formulations tend to have additives in them that lead to increased irritation over time.”
The eyelids have the thinnest skin on your face and more likely to suffer irritation from masks that creep up to the eye area. Dr. Jeanniton recommends wearing masks that have a moldable nose wire to keep them in place and applying a hydrating eye cream under your eyes 15 minutes before donning your mask.
Don’t forget the sunscreen, she tells Well + Good, even if your face is partially covered.
“I have cared for countless patients who developed skin cancer on their eyelids,” she said, and wear a broad-brimmed hat.
Dr. Cary Silverman, an ophthalmologist from East Hanover, New Jersey says that mask wearing has presented a whole new set of challenges for eye exams.
“I had a 65-year-old patient come in who complained of having red eye for three days,” he tells Newsmax. Silverman treated the patient who was wearing a mask with eye drops appropriate for what he saw, but later found out that the man actually had shingles. “The mask hid the rash on his nose and he didn’t tell me.” Obviously, the treatment plan changed, said Silverman, when he learned the red eyes were caused by shingles.
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