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Are wearing eye masks really causing eye sores?
Lately it has been read or heard more often that wearing a nose and throat protector increases the risk of an eye herpes infection. But is that really true? What do experts say about it?
For several weeks now, the so-called “mask requirement” has been in effect in all federal states, which is intended to help curb infections with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This measure is supported by the majority of the population, but criticism can be heard from time to time. Sometimes also very bizarre.
Expert considers the possibility of infection very unlikely
For some time now, some critics of the corona restrictions have been mobilizing against the masks that have to be worn in shops and on the train. Sometimes the truth is not taken too seriously:
- Claim: By wearing mouth and nose protection, cases of eye herpes increase.
- Evaluation: Not used. No cases are known to ophthalmologists.
- Facts: "That lacks any basis," says medical professor Thomas Reinhard, medical director of the Ophthalmology Clinic at the University Medical Center Freiburg.
According to the Essen medical doctor Ludger Wollring, spokesman for the professional association of ophthalmologists in Germany, theoretically only someone who has active cold sores on their lips could become infected via their own breathing air under the face mask.
However, he considers this possibility very unlikely. His association was not aware of any such cases or studies on the problem.
Eyes are less likely to be infected
Eye herpes is triggered by the herpes simplex virus type 1, which is carried between 80 and 90 percent of adults in Germany.
A typical way of transmission is, for example, kissing the parents good night to their child. They infect the lips more often and the eyes less often. Often the first infection does not cause any symptoms.
At rest, the herpes virus remains in the brain at the nerve endings. It can break out with visible blisters on the eyes if the immune system is weakened by another illness or stress. (ad; source: dpa)