Large, luscious eyelashes are all the rage. We see celebrities sporting them on every red carpet, and even non-movie stars have begun wearing them daily. But did you know they pose serious health risks to your eyes? As the false eyelash trend becomes more and more popular, ophthalmologists are seeing a rise in patients with problems related to the trend. Many people have false eyelashes attached to their eyes at “eyelash bars,” many of which are not regulated or licensed in any way.

These eyelash extensions are held to the eye with glue or sewn on, and this can cause irritation or allergic reactions. Glue can sometimes contain formaldehyde, which specifically can result in burning, stinging, swelling, and a rash upon contact or even up to a week later. They are also usually affixed at places that may not be very hygienic. Bacteria and fungus can get trapped under the glue and lead to infection, which causes swelling, redness, and a lot of pain around your eyes. The lashes themselves can even irritate the cornea, and when the glue thickens, it can fall off and scratch the cornea.

These eyelash extensions can also seriously damage your natural eyelashes. In some cases, the weight of the glue and the false lashes can damage the hair follicle making it difficult to grow back your natural eyelashes. Temporary false eyelashes can also cause similar complications, and when people pull off their false lashes at the end of the night, they take many of their real eyelashes with them. Eyelashes are necessary to keep dirt and bacteria away from the eye, and when they are damaged, your eye is at risk for infection.

Unfortunately, when women experience hair loss from false eyelashes, the progressive thinning only perpetuates the cycle and they become convinced to continue using false eyelashes. In turn, these false eyelashes can trap the same dirt and bacteria that natural eyelashes are intended to protect your eyes from.

Treat your eyelashes well and stay away from harmful faux lashes. Long eyelashes may be trendy right now, but beautiful eyes and clear eyesight are always in style.

Dr. Robert Eden
Dr. Robert Eden
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Union College in 1999, Dr. Eden received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in 2002. He completed an internship at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (Boston, MA) and residency at the Nassau University Medical Center (East Meadow, NY) before returning to the Capital District for fellowship training in corneal and refractive surgery at Cornea Consultants of Albany in 2007. During the subsequent two years, Dr. Eden maintained a busy practice in Queens, NY, where he served on staff at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Caritas Medical Centers and The New Parkway Hospital. He also operated at Laser One (New York, NY) and at the MacKool Eye Institute (Astoria, NY) where he performed cornea, cataract and laser vision correction surgery. Dr. Eden returns to Albany as a board-certified, fellowship-trained cornea, cataract and refractive surgery specialist. His practice focuses on state-of-the-art medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases, from dry eye to artificial cornea. He has experience in routine, as well as complex, cataract surgery including placement of the latest intraocular lenses to reduce spectacle dependence, traditional and partial thickness corneal transplantation (DSAEK), and refractive surgery from LASIK to phakic IOL.

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