- Because of the mask, the exhaled air will rise to the top of the mask and rise to the surface of the eye and contribute to its drying.
- Screens reduce eye blinking, and telecommuting promotes warm, less humid environments.
To stay hydrated, our eyes produce tears, made up of water, salt, sugar or antibodies, unlike emotional tears which have a different composition. At the rate of 0.1 ml of tears per hour, they lubricate the eyeballs and fight bacteria. This secretion also serves to filter light, pollutants from the air, to evacuate foreign bodies such as small dust and to prevent the eyelid from hurting during blinking.
Less blinking when telecommuting
Since the start of the health crisis and especially since the wearing of a mask is compulsory, many people have complained of dry eyes when they had never encountered this gene before. This is mainly due to a badly worn mask which prevents the diffusion of the exhaled air to the outside. The exhaled air will rise to the top of the mask, rise to the surface of the eye and contribute to its drying. This phenomenon is observed with the mist that forms the lenses of the glasses.
Teleworking and increased time spent in front of screens also contributes to dry eyes. Humidity conditions in housing are not the same as in offices and it is also warmer, especially with heating in winter, causing the ocular surface to dry out. This new working condition is also less conducive to breaks. According to a study conducted by the University of Iowa in 2015, intensive use of screens decreases the frequency of eye blinking by 66%. This is in addition to the lack of sport and the time spent outdoors which is very good on the eyes.
Solutions to prevent dry eyes
To limit eye dryness, you must start by positioning your mask correctly. This involves the need to place it firmly on the nose to prevent air rising towards the eyes. In front of the screens, it is recommended to take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and to look further, between 5 and 6 meters, to lubricate the eyes. A mnemonic to remember is 3X20: 20 seconds every 20 minutes looking at 20 feet (6 meters). You also have to force yourself to blink regularly. The screen must be placed in front of you, not too close to the eyes and must favor the gaze downwards. The light should not be too intense and it is better to avoid reflections.
In addition, it is possible to buy artificial tears which are freely available but which should not be confused with physiological serum. If this does not improve or worsens, an ophthalmologist should be seen.