Optician warns of health risks associated with eye masks to aid sleep in summer

According to Tina, eye masks will pick up bacteria, dirt, make up, natural oils and sweat. If they are not washed or replaced regularly, they may cause eye infections.

She advised: “If you experience any pain, redness, sticky discharge, crusty eyelids on waking, then you should stop using the mask and seek advice from your optician.

“To avoid picking up any infections, it is important to wash eye masks regularly in a mild detergent and replacing them frequently would be beneficial.”

As eye masks are made from a variety of materials (satin, velvet, fleece, silk, cotton etc) it can also be possible to experience skin irritation, breakouts, skin dryness or an allergic reaction to the fabric that it’s made from, said Tina.

So, when purchasing your eye mask, you should make sure that it’s made from a material that is friendly to your skin.

Tina added: “Another possible drawback of eye masks is that if they are fitted too tight, they could put too much pressure on your eyes. This means that you will experience blurry vision when you wake up in the morning.

“If you notice this then adjust the strap or buy a better fitted mask. If the blurred vision lasts more than 24 hours then you should see an optician.”

There are many different types of sleep masks on the market and each one offers different benefits.

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Tina offered her expertise:

Silk masks tend to be more expensive and less durable. As they are not absorbent, they are kinder to your skin and can protect the delicate skin around the eyes. They are perfect for sensitive skin.

Cotton masks are a popular breathable fabric. They are more durable when washing.

Cloth masks are very easy to take care of.

Gel masks are good for dealing with allergy symptoms and can help with inflammation and puffiness. Some can be cooled in the freezer, perfect for hot summer nights.

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Heated masks help with dry eyes as well as relieve stress and tension.

Weighted masks create a heavy sensation and give a similar effect to a weighted blanket. So, if you like weighted blankets then you may also prefer weighted masks which some wearers say helps them to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Cushioned masks feel more comfortable thanks to the extra padding.

Tina said: “The benefits of wearing correctly fitted eye masks is well known, from ensuring a deep, undisturbed sleep to aiding with dry eyes. Some research also suggests that it can help with fine lines and wrinkles too.

“It goes without saying, that you must always act with caution when placing any object over your eyes. Wearing a properly fitted eye mask that is cleaned regularly will outweigh the risks associated with wearing eye masks.”

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