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The Impact of Cosmetics on our Ocular Health

Did you know that some cosmetic products and procedures can have a negative impact on the health of our eyes, causing damage to the ocular surface? The ocular surface includes the outer layer of the cornea, the tears, the conjunctiva (the thin, clear membrane that protects your eye) and the margin of the eyelids (the part of the eyelid closest to the eye itself).

Makeup applicators including brushes and sponges that are not cleaned thoroughly and regularly can act as a breeding ground for bacteria.

Mascara can obstruct the tear duct and can also form into a mascarona: a mass composed of keratin & mascara which is associated with the loss of eyelashes.

Contamination of cosmetics as a result of shared usage or poor manufacturing /formulation can further increase infection risk.

Application of eyeliner directly to the eyelid margin (the waterline) may lead to cosmetic material spreading to the ocular surface as well as the sebaceous glands along the rim of the eyelid. This can cause both dry eye and infections.

Whilst waterproof eyeliner and mascara offer obvious benefits to the user, the removal of these waterproof cosmetics requires more stringent eye makeup removers which may pose additional risks to the ocular surface.

Eyelash extensions have been associated with allergic contact dermatitis, eyelash loss, eyelash base calcification, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions and keratitis (inflammation of the cornea).

Dermal fillers are used increasingly to rejuvenate the periorbital region. Complications surrounding the use of them include bruising, swelling, infections, nerve damage & vascular occlusion (blood vessel blockage).

In order to prevent infection or damage to the ocular surface we would recommend the following:

  • ALWAYS remove eye makeup at night
  • NEVER share eye makeup
  • Replace eye makeup regularly
  • Ensure applicators are washed thoroughly and regularly
  • DON’T apply eyeliner to the waterline (inside the lashes

If you are experiencing any issues with your eyes, please do contact us and we will be able to advise on the best course of treatment for you.