Collins Vision Has Solutions for your Face Mask Woes

In true 2020 style, a new study published in Ophthalmology and Therapy has found that wearing face masks is associated with ocular irritation and increased dry eye symptoms. Really, 2020? What else?

Thanks to one world health pandemic, wearing a face mask has become as routine as wearing shoes for most of us. For some professions like healthcare, education and even hospitality, workers must wear a mask for hours at a time. Add that to having to wear one in the grocery store, restaurants and just about everywhere else, and that’s a lot of daily face mask use.

As a board-certified ophthalmologist with years of experience, Dr. Michael J. Collins does have some useful information to share and strategies to suggest about face mask usage as it relates to your eyes and your vision.

“We start by asking our patients how their eyes feel while wearing a face mask. From foggy glasses to dry eye symptoms, we have some great solutions that can help.” – Dr. Michael J. Collins, founder of Collins Vision

How Do Face Masks Irritate Eyes?

The study spells out how widespread use of face masks, while essential for the prevention of coronavirus transmission, is causing an increase in ocular dryness and irritation. These findings have important implications on eye health and infection prevention, as mask use is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

So just how do face masks irritate eyes? Not to put it too simply, but all that hot air has to go somewhere! And up it goes. When wearing a face mask, exhaled air is channeled upward, out the top of your face mask and over the surface of your eyes. And if you’re wearing glasses or sunglasses, you already know what happens next; steamy, foggy lenses! At Collins Vision, we have a permanent solution for the face mask fog bog!

Solutions for Face Mask Fogginess: LASIK Offers Freedom

Having LASIK won’t get you out of wearing the face mask, but it may just get you out of the glasses that keep fogging up because of the face mask. If you’re someone who has been thinking about LASIK, now is actually a great time to rid yourself of the hassles of glasses and contacts, giving you one less thing to worry about! At Collins Vision, we are taking every precaution to safely serve our surgical patients. Schedule your free LASIK consultation today.

Solutions for Face Mask–Related Dry Eye: Dr. Alessi Has You Covered

But even if you’re not wearing glasses with your mask, all that exhaled air can take a toll on your eyes. The movement of the air over your eyes can cause your tears to evaporate more quickly, leaving the surface of your eye dry. After a long day of mask-wearing, your eyes can feel dry, gritty, irritated, watery and fatigued. AKA Dry Eye.

Dr. Nicole Alessi is director of our Dry Eye Clinic at Collins Vision, and she recommends the following tips for face mask-induced dry eye:

1) Fix the Fit First. Make sure your mask fits well and doesn’t have a large gap at the top. Try the kind that has the moldable nose bar.

2) Drop Talk. Lubricating eye drops may help relieve symptoms temporarily, but we always recommend seeing your eye doctor about which types of drops to use, as some over-the-counter varieties can make symptoms worse.

3) The 20-20-20 Rule. With more people working and learning remotely, it is always good to be mindful of your screen time, as this can irritate already dry eyes as well. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from looking at the screen and focus on something 20 feet away.

Still Can’t Get Relief from Your Dry Eyes? Comes See Us!

In a dry eye evaluation at Collins Vision’s Advanced Dry Eye Clinic, Dr. Alessi will perform diagnostic testing, which includes ocular allergy testing to evaluate your unique ocular surface condition and discover the source of your dry eye symptoms. This is an important diagnostic step because chronic dry eye symptoms can be similar to those caused by seasonal allergies and even some infections. Proper testing helps us determine the best course of treatment for you. The severity and root cause of your dry eye will determine which treatment is right for you.

We recommend BlephEx for many patients dealing with dry eye. In addition, eye drops, prescription medications, blinking exercises, punctal plugs and warm compresses are all recommended to treat dry eye depending upon the severity of the condition.

See the Difference for Yourself

Why not finish out 2020 with the opportunity to have 20/20 vision? We can help! From Laser Vision Correction and advanced dry eye treatments to modern cataract surgery, reading vision correction, comprehensive eye care and the treatment of many eye diseases, we are Southwest Florida’s trusted source for all things eyes.

We’d be honored to welcome you to the Collins Vision family. Schedule your appointment today.