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You may suffer from ‘mask-associated dry eye’ during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what it is

‘Mask-associated dry eye’ — or ‘MADE’ — is a new phenomenon.

SHARE You may suffer from ‘mask-associated dry eye’ during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what it is
Alex looks at her husband, Travis, as they wait for medical assistant Chandler Squier to administer a COVID-19 test at Intermountain Healthcare’s Salt Lake Clinic on Friday, July 10, 2020.

Alex looks at her husband, Travis, as they wait for medical assistant Chandler Squier to administer a COVID-19 test at Intermountain Healthcare’s Salt Lake Clinic on Friday, July 10, 2020.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Experts want the public to be aware of a new issue creeping up on those who wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic — “mask-associated dry eye” or “MADE.”

What’s going on?

Experts told The Washington Post that the condition is happening to people constantly during the pandemic. Masks will create sudden eye dryness.

The event happens when people wear a loose-fitting mask and the air releases from their mouth to the eyes. That air can lead to discomfort over time, researchers from the University of Utah said.

Lyndon Jones, director of the University of Waterloo’s Center for Ocular Research and Education in Canada, told The Washington Post that dry eyes can create blurred vision, redness and discomfort.

Dry eye is a symptom people see at all ages — but especially when we’re older.

  • “The real reason for bringing this to people’s attention is to say, ‘Hey, if you notice this, this is why it’s happening and let’s help you manage your dry eye while you continue to wear your mask.’ We would hate for people to use this as an excuse to not wear their masks.”

Dry eye is particularly common in those who stare at screens all day because they’re working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reported.

So how do you find relief?

You shouldn’t get rid of a mask to prevent dry eyes, Jones said, according to The Charlotte Observer.

  • “Responsibly wearing a mask, even when having to contend with eye dryness, is a critical part of overcoming the global pandemic,” Jones said. “The good news is that we understand MADE and can address it.”