The Bacteria Funnel Caused by Masks

From the November 2021 edition of “Review of Optometry”: Beneath the Mask: OSD Issues Spike Due to Improper Wear

Did you know? “When there isn’t an appropriate seal between the skin and the mask, it creates an artificially challenging microenvironment on the surface of the eye,” explains Mile Brujic, OD, of Bowling Green, OH.  This is pretty much every mask worn today: it does not have a tight seal to prevent bacterial funnel to the eyes! This funnel causes dry eyes, styes, blepharitis, corneal erosions, and corneal abrasions!


• a commercially approved antiseptic mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide, alcohol or povidone iodine to reduce bacterial load and decrease the likelihood of masked breathing patterns altering the normal flora of the eyelids and periorbital region. You should use mouthwash and/or brush teeth several times/day!

• frequent hot water washing of cloth face masks: Cloth masks do NOT have the appropriate seal.

• good hand hygiene practices; avoidance of face touching and excessive mask adjustment

•  the use of adhesive tape over a mask on the bridge of the nose to minimize the upward direction of air towards the eyes.4  But this can cause other problems with your skin!

Additionally, the authors suggest the use of a 1% hypochlorous acid solution eyelid scrub as part of daily eyelid hygiene to act as both an antiviral and antibacterial blepharitis deterrent. We have HYPOCHLOR in our office to purchase.

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