In Part III of this series, we will focus on cosmetics and how they play a role in ocular hygiene.  There may not be a lot of information in this post for our male readers, but you will find some good tips and useful applications for maybe your daughter or female family member.

  • Fake eyelashes – I was asked the other day, “What was the grossest thing you have seen in someone’s eye?”  I think of a red-eye case that I had with a 20-something female.  She had redness with irritation in both eyes for the past month, and her symptoms were getting worse.  It started sounding like an infection, and then we looked at her under the microscope.  She had worn the same pair of fake lashes for over a month.  The fake lashes had grown with her natural lashes and left a 2-3mm gap between the base of the fake eyelashes and her natural eyelid.  That gap was filled with bacteria causing the extreme reaction in both eyes.   The moral of the story is, don’t be lazy and leave your fake eyelashes on for an extended period of time.
  • Makeup/Mascara – There are approximately 30-40 glands that line each eyelid.  These glands (Meibomian glands) are responsible for secreting the oily part of your tears.  This allows your tears to coat your eye and not evaporate so quickly.  These glands rest just to the inside (or towards your eye itself) of the base of your lashes.  So, when applying cosmetics, try to avoid application on the inside of the lash base.  Also, when removing cosmetics remember to pay close attention to the lashes and glands.  The glands can become clogged and consequently infected if they are neglected.  This can lead to large, red bumps on the eyelids (hordeolums or commonly referred to as styes).  Medications will be prescribed with warm compresses, and recovery can take a couple of weeks.  So, in this instance, be careful when applying and spend appropriate time removing.
  • Contacts – When is the best time to put in the contacts and/or when is the best time remove the contacts in regards to your make up routine?  It is generally recommended to put in your contacts before applying make-up and take out the contacts before removing make-up.  So, the basic rule of thumb is to always wash your hands first, then touch the contacts second, and finish with cosmetics third.

Hopefully, you found some of this helpful.  I do not personally have first-hand knowledge of applying/removing cosmetics, but I do believe that being mindful of ocular hygiene can certainly prevent many problems from occurring.  If you are experiencing any difficulties with your eyes or are due for a yearly eye exam, just call in to schedule an appointment at your convenience.

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