Dr. Dana Robaei, an Australian ophthalmic surgeon, was shocked to treat a 50-year-old woman that came complaining of irritation under her eyelids and discomfort.
Theresa Lynch, the patient, admitted that she has been using heavy mascara for over 25 years.
Her case was unique, so Dr. Dana Robaei (Forest Eye Surgery – Sydney, Australia), wrote a case study and published it in the American Academy of Ophthalmology Journal, to raise awareness on what happens if eye makeup is not properly removed.
The patient said that she didn’t properly remove mascara before going to sleep, and it’s been like that for many years. When Dr. Robaei looked under the patient’s eyelids, she was shocked to see many “darkly pigmented subconjunctival concretions.” Her patient had tiny black bumps under her lids which hardened in time. There were the leftover particles of unremoved mascara, which accumulated over the years.
An ophthalmologist and member of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, Dr. Ken Roberts explains that it is possible for makeup to infiltrate in the tear film and move up under the eyelid as a person blinks:
“The [inside] eyelid surface has all these, I’ll call them pores, but they’re basically little openings, they produce tears, they produce oil, they’re sweat glands, and so these particles of makeup can get up inside the pores and over time they can certainly build up.”
These tiny openings were blocked, but still developed secretions, creating small cysts filled with makeup leftovers.
Never Miss a Day of Cleaning Mascara!
Theresa Lynch stated that she “should never have let it get this far,” and that she urges everyone to not “miss a single day” of cleaning mascara off the lashes.
Dr. Robaei stated that the inner surface of the patient’s eyelids had been eroded and it caused them to swell. The surface of the corneas also had some abrasions:
“Every time Theresa was blinking these bumps were rubbing on the surface of the eye and they pose a risk to her vision.”
After taking a biopsy, the doctor found that Lynch had developed pigmented macrophages – a sort of white blood cell that forms at the site of infection when the immune system responds.
90 Minutes of Surgery
It took Dr. Robaei 90 minutes to surgically remove all the bumps inside the eyelids. She removed all of them, but Lynch still had some permanent scarring on both eyelids and corneas.
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society recommends to lightly apply eye makeup (eyeliner and mascara). The mascara must be fresh and changed every three months, and only applied on the outer half of the lashes. For a proper residual removal of makeup, people should invest in a magnified makeup mirror.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.