eyelashes DEC

Ever wondered why we have eyelashes?

While they look wonderful, especially naturally thick eyelashes, your eyelashes are important.

eyelashes DEC 2

Eyelashes provide protection for your eyes from dust, sand and debris. They act as a filter to keep small debris from entering and harming your eye.

The other important role they play is as a danger alert. Your eyelashes warn you if something is getting too close to your eye.

Why do my eyelash extensions hurt?

Eyelash extensions, or false lashes, are applied with glue to the base of your real lashes to make your real lashes look fuller and longer.

Sometimes you may experience problems with the glue causing contact dermatitis or blepharitis which makes your eyelid or eye hurt. The glue can also cause:

  • burning
  • dry eyes
  • redness
  • eyelid swelling
  • itchiness

If you experience pain or problems, it’s important to seek treatment before the problem becomes more serious.

Why do my eyelashes hurt when I wear mascara?

Mascara contains a blend of ingredients that are safe for eyes, but some people may experience an allergy or be sensitive to some ingredients. If you react to your mascara, stop using it immediately.

eyelashes DEC 3
Problems caused by an ingrown eyelash

Persistent irritation caused by the lash can lead to other problems as your eye struggles to remove the lash that’s poking and scraping your eye.

Other problems that can occur include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Redness
  • Itchy eye and eyelid
  • Eye discharge
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Sensitivity to light, possibly from damage to the eye surface
  • Inflammation of your eyelash follicles or eyelid
  • A gritty feeling in your eye
  • Blurred vision
Causes of ingrown eyelash
  1. An inverted eyelid rolls inward towards your eye, so your lashes point at your eye. This is usually associated with blepharitis, an inflammation due to an oil gland malfunction that leaves oily residue and debris in your eye.
  2. A rare condition called distichiasis. Your lashes begin to grow from the meibomian glands instead of the follicles. Sometimes an additional row of eyelashes grows.
  3. Herpes zoster ophthalmicus. This is shingles in your eye and often includes a forehead rash and ingrown eyelashes.
  4. A stye can cause ingrown eyelashes.
  5. Some autoimmune disorders result in recurring eye infections and ingrown eyelashes.
  6. Psoriasis can lead to an eye inflammation called uveitis. When your eyelid is inflamed it often causes the skin to swell and roll inward, dragging lashes with it.
  7. Psoriasis can also cause a high volume of skin cells to be sloughed off faster than the eye can handle. The skin cells cause a thickening of the skin, which then pushes on your eyelashes.
  8. Getting older can also cause your skin to become thinner and less firm, so your eyelid rolls in and your lashes bush against your eye.
eyelashes DEC 4
What do I do if I have an ingrown eyelash?

You can ease discomfort by using a warm compress on your eyelid, or a cool compress to ease itching. Cucumbers are an excellent cold compress as they also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

If you have an ingrown eyelash, your optometrist can remove it carefully. Do not attempt to remove the lash yourself as you could damage your eye.

 Sometimes an ingrown eyelash is not the same as your other eyelashes, it may be much thinner, and colourless, so it’s really hard to see and remove.

How can I prevent eyelash problems?

There are a few simple things you can do to reduce the likelihood of having problem eyelashes:

  • Remove crusts on your eyelids every day. Use mild soap and water.
  • Wash your hands before handling contact lenses.
  • Don’t wear contact lenses if your eyes are already irritated.
  • Use hypoallergenic eye makeup.
  • Never share your eye makeup with other people.
  • Throw away eye makeup after 3 months.
  • Wash off your makeup before going to sleep.
  • Use artificial tears to reduce dry eyes and irritation.
  • Limit or avoid using eyelash extensions.