False confidence?

With false eyelashes becoming increasingly popular, optometrists should be aware of the risks involved, writes Rima Evans.

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As artificial eyelashes become a mainstream beauty accessory, optometrists must be mindful of their use during consultations; they can pose a serious risk to eye health. Reported problems include allergies, corneal abrasion, and even temporary loss of vision. 

Amano et al (2012) concludes: “Eyelash extension procedures may cause ocular disorders such as keratoconjunctivitis and allergic blepharitis.” The paper pinpoints the glue used in the products as the problem, noting that all glues analysed contained formaldehyde – often used in the manufacture of vaccines and hard-gel capsules, automobiles, and in the building and construction industries – which can also cause keratoconjunctivitis.

Cumbrian optometrist Lisa Sariwee MCOptom recently treated a patient who suffered a temporary loss of vision due to a reaction to eyelash extensions. The patient attended the local NHS Minor Eye Conditions Service an hour or so later, Lisa explains, so it was easily recognised as a reaction. 

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