Dry Eye Diva Podcast: Eyelash Mishaps, Mistakes, and Must-Nots

On this beauty blunder podcast update, Dr. Leslie O’Dell and Amy Gallant Sullivan share some of the biggest issues in eyelid and eyelash enhancing cosmetics.

Glitter Eyeshadow

While the effect is cosmetically appealing, even glitter shadows for “sensitive eyes” can be irritate lids and flake into the eyes. If you are looking for an eyeshadow that would give you a little shine without the risk of glitter getting into your eyes, Dr. O’Dell recommends using a more reflective or shiny cream-based eyeshadow.

Tightlining the Eyelid

Tightlining is the popular practice of applying eyeliner to the waterline of the eye. Unfortunately when makeup is applied at this area, it is covering and coating the delicate meibomian glands which are responsible for releasing tear film onto the eye’s surface every time we blink.  Dr. O’Dell shares a recent patient she helped treat that had been tightlining her eyelids since age 14, and now she is 31. This patient came in to her office thinking she must need glasses – her complaints were blurred vision, worse when watching TV. The real problem? Her meibomian glands had actually been permanently damanged by years of makeup blocking up their release, resulting in gland death or atrophy. Dr. O’Dell was able to take pictures and educate her patient about makeup application below the waterline and show her the gland atrophy that’s already taken place.  In just a few weeks after changing where she applied her eyeliner, this patient reported that not only was her vision clearer, but her eyes were more comfortable as well.

False Lashes

Recently on the OD Divas Facebook page, a Youtube video was shared that horrified everyone! This video shows the popular new trend of applying fake eyelashes to the waterline directly to give a “double row” of lashes. Several magazines have also featured this as a great beauty trend to make false lashes look “more natural”. This is not a beauty hack, but a beauty disaster!

Formaldehyde based glue applied to the waterline will compromise the meibomian glands by blocking their ability to release oil with each blink. The danger is that obstructed glands can lead to permanent gland death. Damaged or blocked glands result in reduced tear film production and could cause permanent discomfort and blurry vision.

The other risk of false lashes is how frequently (or how infrequently) people clean them. Many women will not clean their fake lashes because they are worried that it will make them fall off faster. Dr. O’Dell and Amy Gallant Sullivan share research that shows an increase in lid irritation and increased risk of chronic red eyes with false eyelashes. Another big associated risk of false eyelashes is blepharitis where build up of bacteria and dead skin cells at the base of the eyelashes cause inflammation and irritation. This debris can lead to the risk of styes and chronically red and swollen eyelids.

Are magnetic lashes better? Dr. O’Dell states that a big deterrent to patients to switch to magnetic lashes and skip the irritating lash glue is that they are hard to apply. And even though there is no glue with these products, simply creating longer lashes create a wind tunnel effect that can increase the signs and symptoms of dry eye. Studies show our natural eyelashes should be 1/3 the length of the eye. Any longer will increase the wind and debris blown into the eye and increase the risk of dry eye irritation.

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