Last week a patient came into the office with swollen eyelids and very red eyes. Apparently she had a makeup trial, including false eyelash application, in anticipation of her daughters upcoming wedding. Her symptoms could be caused by a bacterial, viral or fungal infection or possibly an allergic reaction to the glue used to apply the eyelashes. I treated her and the infection resolved.
Eyelash extensions are very popular. Women want their eyelashes to look fuller, longer and more glamorous. There are benefits to wearing eyelash extensions but there are also adverse effects to consider before having them applied. Many people are allergic to the glue,which may contain formaldehyde, used to apply the lashes. An allergy test can be performed prior to application. Sometimes a medical grade adhesive is used. These adhesives are very strong and may adhere to permanent eyelashes. The permanent eyelashes can be pulled out when removing the extensions.At the base of each permanent eyelash is a follicle that is responsible for the health of the eyelash. The glue can clog the follicle and cause an infection or reduction in tear production and dry eye symptoms. Also, the extension can get lodged in the eye and cause a painful corneal abrasion.
In summary. it is important to choose a reputable person to apply the eyelash extensions. An allergy test should be performed before the first application. If an infection occurs see an eyecare specialist as soon as possible.
Dr. Michelle Zalaznick