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Eye Masks for Dry Eyes | Does This Method Really Work?

Eye masks can be a legitimate treatment for dry eye symptoms, helping to alleviate irritation, discomfort, and dryness.

Dry eyes can be more than a nuisance. They can affect your vision and cause significant discomfort. Dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition that affects around 20 million people in the United States, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

What Are Eye Masks for Dry Eyes?

Dry eye masks have been shown to help resolve symptoms related to dry eyes. Several types of eye masks geared toward relieving dry eye symptoms are available from drug stores and online retailers. 

Regular use of these types of eye masks may help relieve various symptoms of dry eyes, helping users to see clearly and experience less discomfort and inconvenience on a daily basis. 

Why Use an Eye Mask for Dry Eyes?

Eye masks are believed to provide a variety of benefits. For instance, heated masks have been shown to boost eye hydration and treat other underlying causes of dry eye and dry eye syndrome. 

Benefits of using eye masks for dry eyes include the following:

  • Repair or loosen clogged oil glands
  • Eyelid hydration, especially for sensitive eyelids
  • Simple application process that takes less than 10 minutes per day
  • Allergy relief properties

Eye masks are generally cost-effective, and they can be applied easily. They have been shown to provide benefits and reduce vision problems and discomfort in a short amount of time. Some people find they get the relief they need by using eye masks for as little as five minutes per day.

Do Eye Masks Actually Work?

Treatment for dry eye disease will vary from person to person. Depending on the severity, your doctor may recommend dry eye masks in addition to other treatments. 

Eye masks have been shown to improve tear production while at the same time reducing eye discomfort related to dry eyes. 

Wearing eye masks (particularly warm eye masks) can potentially melt and loosen any solidified oil in the glands. This is a way to address oil gland clogging, which is one of the common issues causing dry eye syndrome. 

Conversely, cooling eye masks have also been shown to help with dry eyes. Cooling masks can reduce inflammation and treat unwanted symptoms, such as eye redness and eye itchiness. 

What Are the Different Types of Eye Masks?

Different types of eye masks are available to address specific symptoms. These are some of the options for dry eyes:

Microwave Heated Eye Masks

Microwave heated eye masks can lessen some of the symptoms of dry eyes. These types of masks can be heated in a conventional or household microwave. 

Follow directions closely to ensure you heat the mask to a specific acceptable temperature. Do not microwave for longer than specified. If it is microwaved for too long, it can lead to burns. 

After the mask reaches the proper temperature, wear the mask for anywhere from five to 10 minutes, depending on the severity of your symptoms. 

Self-Heating Eye Masks

Not everyone has access to a microwave, so self-heating masks are available at retailers. Self-heating masks are also a great option for travelers.

Many masks will self-heat with exposure to air. These specific types of masks utilize warming pockets (wafers) that will heat up during air exposure. Sometimes you’ll need to shake the mask to activate the heating component.

Sleep Masks

Sleep masks are often designed for those with severe dry eye symptoms. Sleep goggles and sleep masks work by trapping eye moisture, which keeps the eyes hydrated. These types of masks can be utilized for longer periods of time than microwaveable masks and self-heating masks.

Are Eye Masks for Dry Eyes Safe?

Eye masks have a good safety profile, but it’s important to always follow manufacturer specifications. For instance, with microwaveable masks, it’s crucial to follow recommended guidelines. Overheating the mask and applying it to the eyes can end up causing irritation and burns in this sensitive area.

Top Eye Masks for Dry Eyes 

These are some of the top eye masks for dry eyes:

EyeGiene’s Insta-Warmth System

EyeGiene’s Insta-Warmth System masks provide natural dry eye relief. This brand of mask has gentle warming properties and will soothe dry eye symptoms while stimulating natural tears.

Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress

Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress mask provides gentle, moist heat and features MediBeads with a honeycomb molecular structure. These types of masks are washable and reusable. 

Kimkoo Professional Eye Compress

Kim Koo Professional Eye Compress masks are ophthalmologist-recommended. These masks can potentially improve eye health and relieve eye fatigue simultaneously. Kimkoo masks contain flaxseed, which helps retain warmth and heat.

Talk to a Doctor

Although recent studies have suggested that facial coverings and masks may be linked to dry eyes and dry eye disease, this is not applicable when it comes to eye masks that are specifically designed to treat dry eyes. 

If you’ve been experiencing persistent dry eye symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor. If you pinpoint the underlying cause, you can more effectively address symptoms. Consult with an eye care professional to determine the best course of action for treating dry eyes. 

References

Dry Eye Disease. (August 2018). American Academy of Ophthalmology. 

Current Advances in Mechanisms and Treatment of Dry Eye Disease: Toward Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine. (January 2022). Frontiers in Medicine. 

Mask-Associated Dry Eye Disease and Dry Eye Due to Prolonged Screen Time: Are We Heading Towards a New Dry Eye Epidemic During the COVID-19 Era? (February 2021). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 

Coping With Dry Eyes: A Qualitative Approach. (January 2018). BMC Ophthalmology.

Effects of a Warm Compress Containing Menthol on the Tear Film in Healthy Subjects and Dry Eye Patients. (April 2017). Scientific Reports.

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