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Dry Eye

What’s the Link Between Vaping and Dry Eye?

vaping e cigarette 640Vaping is gaining popularity, with over 10 million people worldwide using e-cigarettes or similar products.

But what many don’t know is that vaping can actually pose risks to your eye health and potentially lead to dry eye syndrome.

What Is Vaping?

For those unfamiliar with vaping, it is the inhalation of aerosol or vapor using either a battery powered e-cigarette, vape pen, or similar device. Attractive flavors like mango, apple pie, and mint are drawing the attention of both smokers and non-smokers.

Although vaping is typically promoted to help smokers kick the habit, an increasing number of non-smokers are getting hooked on vaping. And while traditional cigarettes are more harmful to your health, vaping doesn’t come without risks.

Vaping has been linked to some serious health problems and even deaths. Aside from being damaging to your heart and lungs, it can also be detrimental to your eye health.

How Vaping Can Lead to Dry Eye

Dry eye occurs when the eyes aren’t sufficiently lubricated due to insufficient tears, poor tear quality, or environmental factors. Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include red, itchy, gritty, watery, stinging or burning eyes. In severe cases, dry eye can damage the cornea and lead to vision loss. Those with dry eye may struggle to wear contact lenses and may be prone to light sensitivity or blurred vision.

According to a study published in the Optometry and Vision Science journal, vaping can aggravate the eye’s corneal surface causing moderate-to-severe dry eye symptoms. Vaping can also exacerbate symptoms of dry eye in people who already suffer from the condition. Researchers believe that it’s due to the hazardous byproducts of the chemicals in the vape’s liquid component.

The study also showed that vapers experienced a faster rate of tear breakup and tear evaporation when compared to people who don’t vape. The more severe cases of eye dryness were found in those using higher voltage when compared to those who vaped with a lower voltage.

Our Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

If you or someone you care about is experiencing dry eye symptoms — whether it’s caused by vaping or something else — we can help. Our dry eye optometrist will evaluate your eye health and offer the most effective treatment for your condition.

Suffering from dry eye? Find the relief you seek. Contact The Dry Eye Center at Eyecare Greengate today to schedule your dry eye evaluation.

The Dry Eye Center at Eyecare Greengate serves patients from Greensburg, Murrysville, Fort Allen, Export, and throughout Pennsylvania.

 

REFERENCES

Are Face Masks Causing Dry Eye Symptoms?

woman wearing a mask 640Face masks and social distancing have become the first line of defense in COVID-19 prevention.

While these protective measures are essential to combating the virus’ spread, eye doctors are seeing an increase in dry eye cases among people who wear masks. If you are seeking relief, contact us.

What is Mask-Associated Dry Eye (MADE)?

Mask-associated dry eye (MADE) was first described by an ophthalmologist in May 2020 based on the higher rate of dry eye he was seeing in his practice among patients who wore masks. Patients with existing dry eye reported worsening symptoms when wearing a mask.

When a face mask doesn’t fit securely, it can push air from the nose and mouth upward, onto the eyes, causing the tear film — the liquid layer that coats the eyes’ surface — to evaporate more quickly. This leads to MADE.

Dry eye leaves the eyes feeling sore, gritty, dry and irritated. Left untreated, dry eye can cause damage to the cornea.

There are many causes of dry eye, including eye and health conditions, age, gender and certain medications. Insufficient blinking when looking at a digital device or book, poor indoor air quality and pollution can all play a role. Situations that increase how quickly the tear film evaporates can quickly and significantly dry the eye’s surface, leading to more pronounced symptoms.

What Causes Dry Eye When Wearing a Mask?

Wearing a face mask significantly reduces the spread of air when breathing out from the mouth and nose. Instead of moving out, the air moves upwards towards the eyes’ surface. This forces a stream of air over the surface of the eye, causing the tears to evaporate more quickly.

This is the same reason that eyeglasses fog up when wearing a mask.

When masks are worn for long periods of time, this repeated evaporation may lead to dry spots on the eyes’ surface.

 

How to Prevent or Alleviate MADE?

Here are some simple measures to help reduce dry eye while wearing a mask:

  1. Ensure your mask fits well, and consider taping the top edge to prevent air from rising from your mouth toward your eyes.
  2. Limit your time in air-conditioned or heated environments when possible. Also, take regular breaks from digital devices.
  3. Consult your eye doctor, who will examine your eyes and prescribe the best treatment.

Having to wear a face mask to prevent COVID-19’s spread may cause dry eye, but relief is available. Contact The Dry Eye Center at Eyecare Greengate if you are experiencing dry eye symptoms. We will determine the underlying cause of your dry eye and offer you the best solution so you can get back to having comfortable eyes and vision.

 

The Dry Eye Center at Eyecare Greengate serves patients from Greensburg, Murrysville, Fort Allen and Export, throughout Pennsylvania.