PURPOSE: The objective of the study is to evaluate the effect of mask use on tear meniscus (TM) measurements obtained by anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) and on conventional dry eye tests.
METHODS: Right eyes of 86 healthy individuals were included in the study. Lower TM parameters were measured with ASOCT and TM height (TMH) and depth (TMD) were calculated with facial masks on and 1 h after taking the masks off. Schirmer’s and tear break up time (TBUT) tests were measured under the same circumstances.
RESULTS: Mean age of the individuals was 34.4±9.6 years. Of the 86 individuals, 40 (46.5%) were male and 46 (53.5%) were female. Mean age did not differ between genders (p=0.309). Mean TMH and TMD were significantly lower in individuals with face mask (p<0.001, p<0.001, respectively). TBUT score was significantly lower in individuals with face mask (p<0.001). The mean Schirmer score did not significantly change between measurements (p=0.471). The mean mask on and mask off TMH, TMD, Schirmer’s test, and TBUT outcomes did not significantly differ between males and females in the study (p>0.05 for all).
CONCLUSION: Wearing facial masks seem to affect the TM parameters and decrease TBUT of the patients. This may explain the irritation symptoms in the eyes of the patients when using masks. Appropriate measurements should be taken in order to relieve these ocular symptoms, since wearing masks become a daily routine of our lives for protection against airborne pathogens.