• Natalie Lo

Improper Face Mask Use Linked to Increased Risk of Ocular Disease

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing face masks have become our new normal. While they are meant to keep us safe from the virus, prevent us from contracting and spreading the disease, they only work when we wear them properly. In addition to risks of contracting COVID when you improperly wear a face mask, scientists from the American Journal of Ophthalmology have discovered that the improper use of face masks actually renders more susceptibility to diseases, particularly those pertaining to the ocular area.

Image: Scientists from the American Journal of Ophthalmology have discovered that the improper wearing of face masks actually directs air flow and bacteria towards the ocular area, thus rendering people more susceptible to eye disease and infections.


To test this, the scientists used advanced imaging techniques to evaluate the air flow of currents from 4 different “uses” of face masks: proper, proper with tape, improper and improper with tape. Using blood agar plates, they were also able to measure how much bacteria was dispersed towards the eye with each mask. After performing this experiment, they discovered that those who wore the mask properly had an 81% reduction in bacteria as compared to the group wearing the mask inappropriately (e.g. below the nose).

So what does this mean? When you or someone else wears their masks inappropriately, in addition to making them vulnerable to spreading and contracting COVID, it also may cause them to contract ocular diseases as the air flow will be directed towards the ocular surfaces. Medical professionals and the government alike should collaborate to spread greater awareness of the necessity of masks, as well as the dangers of improper use. We all should heed these orders and wear our masks properly to prevent the spread of and contraction of disease.


https://www. .org/article/S0161-6420(21)00036-1/fulltext

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