Which types of face masks cause more dry eye symptoms?
Dry eye signs secondary to wearing a face mask is common, especially in patients with preexisting dry eye syndrome and in those who undergo intraocular operations.
A recent study compared ocular surface disease index questionnaires (OSDI) of 30 individuals wearing surgical masks and 30 wearing N95 masks with face shields. Tear break-up time (TBUT), corneal and conjunctival fluorescein staining, and meibography to assess meibomian gland loss (MGL) were also performed.
According to TBUT, MGL, and OSDI scores, both type of masks cause dryness. DED per DEWS II definition was observed in 46.7% of individuals in the surgical mask-wearing group and 53.3% of individuals in the N95 mask-wearing group.
When mask type was compared, N95 masks were found to cause significantly more dryness according to TBUT and fluorescein staining.
Azzam SH, Nama A, Badarni H, et al. Assessment of dry eye disease in N95 versus surgical face mask wearers during COVID-19. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2022;70(3):995-999. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1133_21. PMID: 35225560.