COVID has created growing consciousness about how our eyes look. We always knew your eyes took center stage for revealing your age and emotions, but now with COVID-19, this has become even more true.
Wearing masks and new safety measures illuminate some key tips you can start following to help your eyes look their very best so you can leave the most lasting impression, even if 75% of your face is covered.
Avoiding Mask Associated Dry Eye (MADE)
A report issued in August 2020 by the Center for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) in August reported a new phenomenon: increased reports of dry, uncomfortable eyes. Reports of this condition started growing this summer where patients were reporting eye dryness and irritation from wearing a mask.
What the study concluded is that because masks reduce the outward spread of air, when a mask sits loosely against the face, exhaled air is likely to route upwards. This forces a stream of air over the surface of the eye, which can evaporate your tear film and lead to dry spots on the surface of your eye which can cause you discomfort. Further, feeling discomfort, this can cause people to want to rub their eyes for relief which increases the possibility of unwashed hands touching your face which we know can increase the likelihood of coronavirus infection.
So what can you do to prevent MADE?
- Ensure your mask is worn appropriately, make sure the top is snug to your face and doesn’t interfere with blinking.
- Consult your eye care practioner for lubricating eye drops if the problem persists.
- Limit time in air-conditioned environments and take regular breaks from digital devices.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes as this can only worsen the condition and increase the likelihood of the spread of coronavirus.
Tips for Applying Eye Care Products and Makeup
You definitely want your eyes to look their best but part of that will require you to stay extra vigilant on applying makeup and eye skin care products.
- Wear sunscreen. There is a common misconception that you don’t need to wear sunscreen since you are wearing a mask. This is only true if your mask is made of a sun protective (UPF) fabric which I venture to guess it probably isn’t. Dr. Arianne Shadi Kouroush, MD, MPH, director of Community Health in the Department of Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggests substituting regular high SPF sunscreens for a lighter moisturizer with some SPF in the mornings. This is important because of all the additional time we are spending in front of screens to protect against the higher energy visible light coming off those screens.
- Clean your brushes and only apply makeup and eye skin care products with carefully washed hands and brushes. Try to avoid reapplying makeup in public places, so try looking for products that are longer lasting so you only have to apply makeup once in the morning.
- Use a moisturizing eye cream or try eye patches to provide comfort to the skin around your eyes. Now more than ever these products are important. See here for Top Eye Creams of 2019 and Top Eye Masks of 2018.
- Don’t rub your eyes. Even though you are dying to provide temporary relief to an itch or patch of dryness in your eyes, don’t rub your eyes. This can not only damage the delicate lattice of subcutaneous layers in the skin around your eyes but can also increase the potential transmission of coronavirus to you.
Hope you found these tips useful! Stay safe and hope you are able to bring your best eyes forward to every interaction you have during these challenging times.