Eye makeup applied inside the lash line is likely to cause discomfort and may increase the risk of an eye infection, according to a recently published study led by vision scientist
Dr. Alison Ng. While completing her PhD at Cardiff University, Dr. Ng used video recordings to track glittering eye makeup on the surface of the eye.
The findings appear in the most recent issue of Eye and Contact Lens, the official peer-reviewed journal of the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists.
Anecdotal observations by eye care practitioners found some contact lens wearers were reporting irritation as pigments and waxes from cosmetics build up on contact lenses. This is what drove the research.
Cosmetics worn around the eye are expected to dazzle all day – or night – long. This works in terms of durability on normal skin, but it can be bad news for eye health,” said Dr. Ng, currently based in Waterloo’s Centre for Contact Lens Research.
Dr. Ng captured more than 200 frames of video at timed intervals. She and her team then counted every last piece of glitter that appeared on the surface of the eye. The results are clear. More eyeliner moves into the tear film, the thin, wet layer protecting the eye, when we apply makeup along the “waterline”, the more delicate areas closest to the eye itself.
Contact lenses trap cosmetics
In the naked eye, tear production helps dilute and wash away contaminants. In fact, Dr. Ng’s study showed that most makeup particles were flushed out of the eye naturally within two hours. However, contact lenses add a physical barrier. Lenses worn for multiple days are especially problematic as they continually re-introduce and collect unwanted debris.
This can create cloudiness in contact lenses and disrupt vision,” said Dr. Ng. “For anyone who wears heavy makeup or enjoys regularly applying beauty products around the eye, I would recommend daily disposable lenses for optimal cleanliness and comfort.”
Hygiene tips for all types of eyeliner tips
Redness, itchiness, or scratchy irritation are all signs that it may be time to switch up your makeup routine to keep your eyes clear and healthy.
You have to think about cosmetics use at all stages. Consider which products you choose, how you apply the products, and how you remove them at bedtime,” said Dr. Ng, a postdoctoral fellow in University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science, Faculty of Science.
Prevent bacterial transfer by sharpening eye pencils thoroughly before each use. Twist-up products are tricky, but manageable. Dr. Ng recommends that people who favour this style of eyeliner trim a small piece of eyeliner from the end of the product before every application.
Providing insights to practitioners
When she’s not conducting research, Dr. Ng writes about cosmetics and eye health for ContactLensUpdate.com, a reference tool that the Centre for Contact Lens Research provides for eye care clinicians.
The CCLR team have produced a handy tip sheet for the public describing best practices to maintain eye health, and comfort.
Visit the CCLR recruitment page to sign up to participate in current or upcoming clinical trials.