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By Dr. Anwi Etame

This time of year there are parties galore for Christmas and New Years. Many ladies will glam it up by buying a new outfit, getting hair and nails done, and wearing a little more makeup than usual. But did you know that there are conditions known to be associated with the use of eye makeup that can lead to potentially harmful effects?

Eye conditions

Conjunctivitis, also known as a “pink eye,” is the most common infection associated with improper use of eye makeup. Avoid sharing makeup and using samples in stores.

Dry eyes can result from long-term use of eye makeup. Eye makeup can cause clogging of tiny hair follicles and oil glands of the upper and lower eyelids. Clogged hair follicles and oil glands can become inflamed and infected leading to styes, chalazions and meibomitis. These oil glands secrete oil to protect the eye surface. In addition to these unsightly red bumps (styes and chalazions), chronic meibomian gland dysfunction, if left untreated, can lead to irritation and chronic dryness of the eyes.

A corneal abrasion is also commonly associated with eye makeup users. The use of eyeliners and mascara applicators have been known to scratch the cornea if not used appropriately and carefully. Corneal abrasion left untreated can lead to possible infections of the cornea. Infections of the cornea can be sight threatening.

Eye allergic reactions are common with the use of eye makeup. Classic symptoms include eyelid swelling, redness, tearing, itching, pain and irritation of the eyes. Careful review of eye makeup labels such as FDA approved color additives is encouraged. Products labeled “all natural” or “all organic” or “dermatologist tested” are still not guaranteed to prevent allergic reactions.

How to protect your eyes:/h2>

  • Sharpen eyeliner pencils for more precision
  • External application of eyeliner on the eyelash line, do not use inside the lash line
  • Avoid sharing eye makeup
  • Replace eye makeup products every three months and after any infections
  • Avoid multi-tasking while applying eye makeup; never apply eyeliner while driving or riding in a car
  • Remove all eye makeup at the end of the day, especially mascara that can stick to the eyelashes

Follow these tips to keep your eyes healthy and still get the desired glamorous look for the holidays. Contact your local eye care provider if any problems arise from the use of eye makeup products to prevent any sight-threatening conditions.

Dr. Anwi Etame is an Optometrist at Eye Surgeons Associates Rock Island clinic. She received her Doctorate in Optometry with honors in clinical care from the Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago, IL.

The material contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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