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Cosmetics And Our Eye Health

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Nobody likes accidentally jabbing themselves in the eye with a mascara applicator, but that isn’t the only eye health concern when it comes to cosmetics.

Makeup and certain cosmetic products can sometimes trigger allergic reactions, so it’s always a good idea to be careful when trying a new one for the first time. Equally serious is the risk of infection, which is what we’ll be focusing on today.

What Are We Putting In Or Near Our Eyes?

They say that beauty is pain, but those probably shouldn’t be words to live by, especially when it comes to the health of our eyes. The three most risky types of cosmetics that come close to our eyes are waterline eyeliner, false eyelashes, and colored contact lenses.

Eyeliner On The Waterline

In recent years, it has become fairly popular to apply eyeliner inside on the rim of the eyelid, also called the water line. This can produce striking results, but it isn’t without risks. Studies have shown that far more eyeliner particles migrate into the tear film over the cornea from waterline eyeliner than other makeup. This increases the chance of infection and irritation.

False Eyelashes And Eyelash Extensions

The most common problem with false eyelashes is an allergy to the glue, but even if you have no such allergy, false eyelashes are still risky. They can have a negative impact on the health of the natural eyelashes, damaging their roots and sometimes causing them to fall out. They’re also breeding grounds for germs that could cause eye infections.

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Color Contacts

Technically, contact lenses are not cosmetics, they are medical devices. We still wanted to discuss them because they are often used for cosmetic purposes and come with considerable risks.

One factor many people fail to consider with color contacts, especially when they are not prescription contacts, is that all eyeballs are not the same size. Poorly fitted contacts can lead to serious complications, including infection, inflammation, trauma, and even damage to the cornea and eyelids. Over-the-counter color contacts or ones purchased online might also not have been kept clean, which adds to the risk of corneal ulcers and conjunctivitis (pink-eye).

The best way to avoid these problems is to only buy color contacts from retailers who require a prescription. In fact, it’s illegal to sell them in the United States without requiring a prescription. You should also make sure you’ve been fitted for contacts by your optometrist before you buy colored lenses. Once you have them, always follow the proper care and safety instructions.

General Tips For Avoiding Eye Infections

As long as you exercise caution, there’s no reason you can’t still use these types of products. Here are a few general guidelines you can follow to keep your eyes safe.

  • Wash your hands before doing anything near your eyes
  • Pay attention to expiration dates on makeup
  • Don’t share eye makeup, and definitely don’t share contact lenses

Come To Us With Your Eye Health Concerns!

Come to us if you have other questions about cosmetics and eye health or have had any complications from using these types of products. We’re here to address any of your concerns and ensure that you have healthy vision for life!

Healthy eyes are beautiful eyes!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Written by Vision Care Center

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Our Locations


Find us just south of the Sheridan & Glen intersection, on the same side of the road as Marco’s Pizza and across the street from Walgreens.

To contact our Vision Therapy department, please call 309.670.2020 ext. 2, then choose Option #2 to be directed to VT.

  • 4727 N Sheridan Road
  • Peoria, IL 61614


You can find our office on North Cummings Lane, right next door to Rock Valley Physical Therapy. We offer plenty of parking in front of our clinic with accessible parking stalls.

To contact our Vision Therapy department, please call 309.670.2020 ext. 2, then choose Option #2 to be directed to VT.

  • 1009 North Cummings Lane
  • Washington, IL 61571
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