The wearing of face mask is now mandatory even though many are ignoring and venturing out without wearing the mask. Even those who got vaccinated are advised to wear a mask and the prolonged use of face mask may lead to some eye related side effects according to a research paper titled Face Mask-Associated Ocular Irritation and Dryness published in the Ophthalmology and Theory journal back in July 20.
This side effect is termed as mask associated dry eyes with ophthalmologists getting cases with complaints of dry and irritated eyes. Skin irritation, friction acne, and hurting ears are some of the other side effects experienced by wearers of masks for prolonged time.
Normally, our faces are not designed to wear masks for hours at a stretch. Due to usage of masks for longer time the lower portion of eyes tend to heat up on account of constant exhalation inside the masks. Wearing masks obstructs the normal flow of air from our nostrils and also re-directs some of the air we exhale up towards our eyes. When this happens constantly for hours at a stretch, it contributes to the drying up of the lubrication in the eyes, resulting in irritation or inflammation of the eye surface.
Choosing right kind of masks and wearing them properly so that the air flowing upwards can be minimized and by lubrication of eyes with eye drops when some irritation is reported, this can be resolved. Also when in secluded places, try to remove mask and allow eyes to breathe properly. With these minimum precautions eyes can be protected from irritation and other side effects of wearing masks for longer times.