What societies consider beautiful has adapted and evolved over time, with historians documenting the many ways societies have strived to reach their idealized appearances. Today, the trend of eyelash extensions and tinting is sweeping social media and magazines. However, this beauty trend has a dark side. 

The media has created a frenzy for long, thick, and dark eyelashes, with many public figures as early adopters of this trend. It may seem like a harmless way to accentuate your eyes, but the techniques that are behind extensions and tinting can lead to infections or allergic reactions which can impair your vision.  

One of the biggest problems with eyelash extensions is that certain kinds of glue used in the application of extension contain chemicals, such as formaldehyde, which can cause severe irritation and allergic reactions. One well-known example of the problems that formaldehyde can cause to eyes came from actress Kristin Chenoweth. She appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2012 wearing sunglasses because of a raging infection in her eyes that she attributed to eyelash extensions. Not only did she discover that the eyelashes that they were putting on her came from the bodies of the deceased, the glue contained formaldehyde that was also used in the embalming fluid of the deceased. “I swelled up and I’m sneezing… It looks like I have lips on my eyelids,” she told Letterman. The reason formaldehyde can be such a problem in eyelash adhesive is that many salons will get products that are shipped in from around the world and the time of travel will cause the chemical to build up within the glue. This means when they open the product for use for the first time, it will release a higher level of formaldehyde than when it was manufactured. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has issued warnings about eyelash extensions. The AAO says that infections of the cornea and eyelid are possible along with swollen eyelids and even the temporary or permanent loss of eyelashes! The AAO says that the extended use of the eyelash extensions will cause damage to the hair follicles that support your natural lash growth. Some eye doctors also say they’ve seen a connection between eyelash extensions and development of dry eye. The natural eyelash is perfectly designed to protect the eye from wind, dust, and other debris. Adding additional length creates a wind-like effect on the eyes that causes the eyes to dry out.  

Eyelash tinting is another potential cause of serious eye issues according to the AAO.  

“People can develop sensitivities with repeated exposure,” Dr. Purnima Patel, spokesperson for the AAO, stated about the dyes. “In addition, formulations may change over time. It is possible to have a reaction even if you have tolerated a dye without issue in the past.” The AAO also points out that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved a single color additive for permanent color on eyelashes. Some states, such as California, actually fine any salon they discover is offering this process to their clients because the FDA has not approved the procedure. 

The staff at EyeCare 20/20 want to encourage you to put your eye health first. If you’ve tried lash extensions or other procedures and found that you’re suffering from eye issues, contact EyeCare 20/20 as soon as possible for an appointment to see how your condition can be cured!

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