Responding to Choice magazine’s investigation into the dangers of eyelash extensions, Optometry Australia’s Senior Optometrist Luke Arundel said that optometrists nationwide had reported complications linked to the use of eyelash extensions.
“The eye is a very sensitive organ and vital to our wellbeing. Whilst we recommend people not to have any beauty procedure that might have a direct impact on the health of the eye, if they do insist on having eyelash extensions, they should understand the risks associated with this procedure,” said Mr Arundel.
“Repeated use of eyelash extensions can cause tractional alopecia, where the natural lash falls out due to excessive tension and weight placed on the hair shaft. This can damage the hair follicle, which can slow down or cease any further production of natural lashes. We feel very little information on these potential complications is being provided to the public and a risk of eyelash baldness would be the exact opposite cosmetic effect these people are seeking.”
“People need to ensure that their beauty therapist has been trained in this procedure, that the equipment used has been sterilised and that the environment where the procedure will take place is clean. They should ask their therapist what glue they will use to adhere the lashes to the eyelid and avoid places that only use formaldehyde based adhesives as these are often linked to allergic reactions. We recommend pharmaceutical grade glues and removal solvents.”
“If there is any discomfort after the procedure, any noticeable inflammation of the eyelid, grittiness, blurred vision or loss of the natural eyelashes, you should see your optometrist immediately,” Mr Arundel advised.
False eyelashes became popular in the 1960s, thanks to celebrities like Twiggy, and are now fashion accessories, worn by current celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian. The new cosmetic trend is to have the lashes glued in place along the eyelid and dispersed amongst the natural lashes.
Eyelash extensions are semi-permanent synthetic silk, mink or nylon fibres. Extensions can last four to eight weeks before falling off, or they can be removed. People often have the procedure repeated many times.
“These synthetic fibres can come loose and small participles can lodge in the eye scratching the cornea. Left long enough they could ulcerate, although we believe such damage would be rare,” Mr Arundel said. “Anyone prone to allergic reactions or those who have sensitive eyelids or conditions such as blepharitis are best advised to avoid eye extensions.”
Optometry Australia offers the following Do’s and Don’ts for people considering eyelash extensions:
- Only go to a eyelash stylist who has had training in applying eyelash extensions and who is working in a reputable business. Ask to see their “work”, with Before and After pictures.
- Ensure that adequate hand washing and proper hygiene is practised during the application process.
- Ask about the eyelash adhesive ingredients before application – no glue should ever touch your skin and avoid places that only use formaldehyde based adhesives and solvents.
- Eyelash extensions should be applied with your eyes closed.
- Clusters or strips glued to your lashes are NOT eyelash extensions. They will cause damage to your natural lashes, which may be permanent.
- Each single eyelash extension should be attached to single natural eyelashes. An extension should never be attached to more than one natural eyelash.
- If there is any discomfort after the procedure, any noticeable inflammation of the eyelid, grittiness, blurred vision or loss of the natural eyelashes, you should see your optometrist immediately.