Eye surgeon says face masks causing dry eye issues

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Health officials are noticing that working from home and living in this “new normal” has physically impacted many people. KHON2 spoke with experts who share some helpful tips.

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The owner of Eyesight Hawaii tells KHON2 he has seen an increase in patients with eye discomfort, which he says has a lot to do with dry eyes. Sometimes people forget to blink while staring at the screen. It is an issue that has plagued individuals, even pre-pandemic.

“Their eyes are just feeling tired, gritty, and, you know, intermittent blurred vision with all this computer time, with all this screen time,” said Eyesight Hawaii Owner Dr. John Olkowski.

One recommendation is to look away from the device every 20 minutes and to blink for 20 seconds. Dr. Olkowski says he is also seeing a lot of dry eyes caused by mask-wearing. This happens when air comes out from the top of the mask towards the eyes.

“A couple things you can do. One is, again, treating the dry eyes. Treating the oil glands to protect the tears. And then…put a piece of tape across so that the air doesn’t blow up and dry the eyes out,” explains Dr. Olkowski.

The owner of Zen Heatlh Center tells KHON2 more people have come in with neck, shoulder and lower back pain related to working from home.

“We do not have the ideal office setup, where I have the proper monitor height, the proper keyboard height,” said Zen Health Center owner Dr. Hong Zeng Yuen-Schat, also known as “Dr. Zen.”

Dr. Zen also says some likely do not have the support a traditional computer chair provides, but a pillow behind the back and binder under the feet could do the trick.

To stretch the neck, Dr. Zen recommends turning the head at a 45-degree angle and tilting it back towards the ear using one hand. He says to try it for 10 seconds, 10 times before lunch.

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