Are Eyelash Extensions Bad For My Eyes?

Are Eyelash Extensions Bad For My EyesOftentimes, patients of Healing Eye Care will have eyelash extensions that cause eye problems. As you may know, eyelash extensions come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of them are placed on lashes professionally at a salon, some can be done at home, some look good, and others… can be rather dramatic, to say the least. All kidding aside, if you wear lash extensions or are considering them, there are some risks involved that you should know. We certainly don’t want to dissuade any women from expressing themselves the way they’d like to; yet, we have an obligation to inform our patients, so that they are educated when dealing with such a delicate structure of tissue around the eye.

Eyelash Extension Adhesive Could Harm Your Eyes

There are a great deal of risk factors involved with toxicity of solvents, glues, and adhesives placed so close to the eye. Our eyelashes are meant to keep away foreign bodies and dust, kind of like an air filter. The most common complications from eyelash extensions are allergic in nature, such as “allergic blepharitis” inflammation along the eyelid margins, irritation, infections such as “conjunctivitis”, or more commonly referred to as “pink eye”, and dry eye. A study conducted in Japan1 amongst women who wore eyelash extensions found that (97.5%) had one or more of these problems; dry eyes, itchy eyelids, tearing, burning sensation, lid swelling, and pain, casting of shadows in vision, misdirected eyelashes, purulent discharge and eyelashes falling out and into the eye.

Dry Itchy Eyes From Eyelash Extensions

The hair follicles of your eyelashes are located very close to your eye and even interface with a very delicate system that secretes natural oils to lubricate the surface of your eye. These oil-producing parts of your eyelid are known as the meibomian glands and are located along the rims of the eyelids. If these glands get contaminated with any particles or contaminants it could lead to an infection or worse. What we most commonly see happen is patients first complain of dry itchy eyes, because the lubricating function of the eye is simply not working as well as it could have, because of whatever was on the extensions or the glue. Whether or not the lashes were professionally installed, it isn’t an instant painful sensation that patients would initially report, instead, just a slow diminishment in the comfort and quality of their eyes- therefore they would not link it to being associated with the lash extensions.

Excessive makeup can lead to irritation and other complications in the eye

Okay, ladies, let’s be honest. You’re not going to have big bold lash extensions and forget to apply your mascara. Makeup of this type, especially waterproof, if not washed away from the lids properly, can also accumulate inside the hair follicles leading to meibomian gland dysfunction and eventually leads to evaporative dry eye disease. That’s not to say all makeup is bad. Our office carries an entire line of products from an eyecare supplement company called Ocusoft. We have hypoallergenic, non-inflammatory lash serums, and mascara which boost lash growth. It is also equally important to make sure that you’re cleaning your makeup thoroughly and properly off your eyelids. There are a variety of products that utilize tea tree oil in the right concentrated amount to not be harmful to your eyes but to thoroughly and safely clean away the area surrounding the lash.

Are you considering eyelash extensions, or do you have them now and are concerned? We are here for you.

Call our office to speak with one of our expert ophthalmic technicians. All of whom can not only answer any questions you may have but also can speak to you about other options to lash extensions that may be healthier for your total long term eye health. We’ve helped and treated many patients who have presented with complications from their current extensions while unaware. We are here to serve you and can’t wait to help you find the best way to bat those lashes at someone!

We are thinking of you and wishing you and your loved ones safety and good health.

1Journal of Medical and Biomedical Sciences Vol 1 No 3 (2012) Ocular discomforts following eyelash extension G. A. Koffuor1, B. P. Anto2, C. Afari3, S. Kyei4, and L. Gyanfosu5

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