Study shows makeup migration into eye

Healthy eyes are pretty eyes, but for those patients who enjoy preening their peepers, a new study might help illustrate the importance of proper hygiene and careful makeup use.

Recently published in the journal Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice, an international study examined and recorded the migration of particles into subjects’ tear film following application of a pencil eyeliner along the periocular skin versus behind the lash line.

Subjects were assigned one of the two eyeliner application conditions, and used a common glitter eyeliner along their upper and lower eyelids. A slitlamp video then traced the particles’ migration into the tear film over a two-hour period.

Researchers found between 15 and 30 percent more particles in the eyes of patients who applied the makeup along the inside of their eyelashes, and also noted the particles moved more quickly with this application method. Two hours after application, however, contamination of the tear film was negligible, the study says.

A caveat to the findings: The study was both small in scope and only tested Caucasian subjects. Therefore, researchers say it’s unclear if different eyelid shapes may affect the eyeliner’s movement.

The study’s lead researcher told Reuters nonetheless waxy pigments in makeup can cause problems for people with dry eye syndrome or contact lens wearers, should the material build up to irritate the eye.

Stressing good hygiene
Thomas Quinn, O.D., AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS) chair, says not only is the likelihood of contamination increased with the makeup’s closer proximity—as demonstrated by the study—but it also has the potential to block meibomian glands that normally produce oil into the tear film and help lubricate the eye.

The study underscores the importance of discussing proper eye and lid hygiene, as well as contact lens safety when it comes to cosmetics.

Here are some tips to help patients wear contacts and cosmetics safely:

• Put on contact lenses after washing and drying your hands and before applying makeup.

• Avoid lash-extending mascara (fibers can irritate the eyes), and waterproof mascara (cannot be easily removed with water and may stain soft contact lenses).

• Keep false eyelash cement, nail polish and remover, perfume and cologne away from lenses as they can damage the plastic.

• Always remove contacts after washing and drying your hands and prior to removing makeup.

Contact lenses perform best in a clean, moist environment,” Dr. Quinn says. “Makeup in the tear film contaminates the environment with debris and, sometimes, with potentially harmful organisms. This can put vision, comfort and safety in peril.

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