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Article

Blepharoconjunctivitis and Otolaryngological Disease Trends in the Context of Mask Wearing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

1
School of Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
2
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
3
Department of Otolaryngology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Anna Capasso
Clin. Pract. 2022, 12(4), 619-627; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract12040065
Received: 5 July 2022 / Revised: 26 July 2022 / Accepted: 29 July 2022 / Published: 11 August 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2022 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
(1) Purpose: In 2020, wearing of face masks was mandated in the United States in an effort to lessen transmission of the novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic; however, long-term mask wearing may present with unintended side-effects in both ophthalmic and otolaryngologic clinical practice. This study aims to examine if mask wearing increased the incidence of primarily chalazion, blepharoconjunctivitis, and rhinitis occurrence during the mask-mandated COVID-19 pandemic period. (2) Methods: Medical records from tertiary academic center clinics were analyzed for incidence of ophthalmic and otolaryngologic diagnoses of interest (blepharoconjunctivitis- and rhinitis-related disorders). Data were collected from a pre-pandemic (March 2019–February 2020) and a mid-pandemic window (March 2020–February 2021) during which widespread mask mandates were implemented in Texas. Comparison was performed using a t-test analysis between incidence of chosen diagnoses during the described time periods. (3) Results: Incidence of ophthalmic disorders (primarily blepharoconjunctivitis and chalazion) in the pre-pandemic versus mid-pandemic windows did show a significant difference (p-value of 0.048). Similarly, comparison of otolaryngologic diagnoses (primarily rhinitis and related conditions) between the two time periods showed a significant difference (p-value of 0.044) as well. (4) Conclusion: Incidence of the chosen ophthalmic and otolaryngologic disorders did increase during periods of mask mandates. While these findings are preliminary, further studies are warranted to understand other factors that may have played a role in eye and nose pathology. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; mask; rhinitis; chalazion; blepharitis COVID-19; mask; rhinitis; chalazion; blepharitis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Koshevarova, V.A.; Westenhaver, Z.K.; Schmitz-Brown, M.; McKinnon, B.J.; Merkley, K.H.; Gupta, P.K. Blepharoconjunctivitis and Otolaryngological Disease Trends in the Context of Mask Wearing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Clin. Pract. 2022, 12, 619-627. https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract12040065

AMA Style

Koshevarova VA, Westenhaver ZK, Schmitz-Brown M, McKinnon BJ, Merkley KH, Gupta PK. Blepharoconjunctivitis and Otolaryngological Disease Trends in the Context of Mask Wearing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Clinics and Practice. 2022; 12(4):619-627. https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract12040065

Chicago/Turabian Style

Koshevarova, Victoria A., Zack K. Westenhaver, Mary Schmitz-Brown, Brian J. McKinnon, Kevin H. Merkley, and Praveena K. Gupta. 2022. "Blepharoconjunctivitis and Otolaryngological Disease Trends in the Context of Mask Wearing during the COVID-19 Pandemic" Clinics and Practice 12, no. 4: 619-627. https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract12040065

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