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Spike in cosmetic surgeries raises concern for eye health

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

COVID-19 has impacted the world in many different ways, one of which is the increased use of video communication tools. Whether it’s a work Zoom meeting or a FaceTime call with family, we’ve all started seeing more of our own faces on video.

With this, there has been a spike in Australians undergoing cosmetic procedures, with cosmetic surgeries tripling since the initial COVID-19 lockdown. And it’s important to ask, what risk do these procedures pose to our eye health?

Optometry Australia’s globally respected  journal Clinical and Experimental Optometry recently published an article highlightingOcular injuries resulting from commercial cosmetic procedures’. The article reveals that whilst cosmetic facial procedures are on the rise, it’s the significant number of operators who lack formal medical training and non-medical operators performing these cosmetic procedures that’s most alarming.

This is a stark reminder that with a rise in ocular complications resulting from cosmetic facial procedures in Australia, attention needs to be paid to the potential risks, which includes permanent visual loss.

With this, Australians looking to undergo cosmetic facial procedures are being urged to educate themselves on safety precautions before embarking on the journey.

Some of the more common cosmetic eye procedures and their risks that the article outlines include:

  • Eyelash extensions: Injury occurs when sharp pieces of synthetic material fragment from the fake eyelashes and deposit under the eyelid, which could lead to corneal abrasions causing a painful inflammatory response, and in some cases require removal under a general anaesthetic.
  • Cosmetic laser procedures: Although during laser procedures patients are provided goggles or corneal shields to protect the eyes, there have been reports of patients being exposed to direct laser light which can be detrimental to eye health.
  • Episcleral tattooing: Arguably one of the riskiest cosmetic procedures, episcleral tattooing is a cosmetic procedure where dye is injected beneath one’s conjunctiva to change the white of the eye to a colour of choice. This procedure can cause harmful short-term issues such as headaches, severe light sensitivity and migration of ink staining. Patients are also at risk of developing infection, haemorrhages, and in extreme cases, permanent vision loss.

Before undergoing cosmetic procedures, it is important to be aware of the potential damage and risks which can emerge as a result. It’s also important to know the qualifications of the person performing the procedure and if they have formal medical training and the relevant certifications.

If you’re concerned about your eyesight, or you are experiencing any changes to your vision, contact your local optometrist for expert advice or to book an eye examination.

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