It might be time to ditch the fake eyelashes

Fake eyelashes can be exciting to wear but it’s no surprise that they sometimes get a bad rap. While falsies exist to enhance your makeup – sore red eyes, and even infected eyes, are never a great look.

So, it’s important to ask yourself: should you take the risk? Let’s see what an optometrist has to say.

The dangers of cosmetic lashes

Fake eyelashes have been around for decades, and they float in and out of popularity according to fashion trends and along with other beauty procedures. It was interesting that in 2020, there was a spike in Australians undergoing cosmetic procedures, with cosmetic surgeries tripling since the initial COVID-19 lockdown reportedly due to the increased focus on the face brought about via zoom meetings.

But what risk does this pose to the eyes?

Maria Markoulli, associate professor at School of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW recently told the Herald Sun that Australians should reconsider any decisions to undergo cosmetic procedures that involve the eyes.

“I would exercise serious caution before getting fake eyelashes or upper eyelid tattoos as cosmetic procedures can cause glands that produce tears to produce an oily layer which can cause a toxic and inflammatory response and damage to the ocular surface,” she said.

“In the worst cases, they can affect the quality of vision and cause permanent damage.

“If you don’t wash your eyes when you get new false eyelashes, debris can cause crusty eyes and a toxic effect – I would strongly advise consulting an optometrist before getting any cosmetic procedure to make an informed decision."

Signs your falsies are causing your eyes problems

Common problems associated with wearing fake eyelashes include infections of the cornea and eyelid, eyelid swelling, allergic reactions, damage to your natural lashes and eye injury.

Eye injury can occur when sharp pieces of synthetic material fragment from the fake eyelashes 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.

If you are taking the risk, it’s important to ensure that you are taking precautions and exercising safe wear; making sure you limit the amount of glue being used, avoiding formaldehyde-based adhesives and ensuring you clean the eyelid.

If you have any of these symptoms after wearing fake eyelashes, you should contact an eye health professional for treatment:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Discharge
  • Swelling
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light

Talk to an optometrist

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

According to Optometry Australia’s 2022 Vision Index, 97% of Australians are experiencing at least one eye-related issue. So, before you grab your next pair of falsies, it’s important to be aware of the risks and potential damages they can cause your eyes. And if you’re visiting a beautician, make sure to check out the qualifications of the person performing the procedure and if they have formal medical training and the relevant certifications before you go.

For other beauty secrets (only an optometrist will tell you), read our article here.

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