Eye Makeup and Your Vision

Woman applying eye makeup

How Eye Makeup Mistakes Can Affect Your Vision

Do you use makeup to accentuate your eyes? Whether your go-to style is a smoky eye or you prefer a more understated look, eye makeup mistakes could increase your risk of eye irritation, infection, or vision loss.

What Types of Eye Problems Can Be Caused by Makeup?

If you're like most people, you probably don't pay much attention to expiration dates on your eye makeup. Unfortunately, as soon as you open a new package of eyeshadow or uncap a tube of mascara, bacteria begin to grow in the product and on the applicator. Replacing makeup every few months is a simple way to avoid bacterial or fungal infections that could cause pain and temporary or permanent vision loss.

Infections can also occur if you don't wash your hands before handling eye makeup, or if an uncovered product becomes contaminated with bacteria, dirt, or dust.

Signs and symptoms of an infection can include pain, redness, discharge, and swollen eyelids. Get in touch with your optometrist right away if you notice any of these symptoms. Without prompt treatment, serious or permanent vision damage could be a possibility.

Have you ever poked yourself in the eye while applying makeup? A poke could cause minor irritation as well as scratch or damage the white part of your eye or your cornea, the clear, rounded tissue that covers your iris and pupil. Scratches can be quite painful, while more serious injuries could put your vision at risk.

The type of eye makeup you use may also cause issues. Eyeshadow that contains glitter or sparkling powder creates a dramatic look but tends to migrate into the eye easily, causing discomfort, irritation, or scratches. The problem can be worsened if you wear this type of makeup with contact lenses. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that corneal infections or irritations occur more often in contact lens wearers who wear glitter eye makeup.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Vision

These simple steps can help you avoid eye injuries, irritation, and infection:

  • Throw Away Eye Makeup After Three Months: Don't keep eye makeup longer than the expiration date, which is usually about three months. If you develop an eye infection, throw out all of your eye makeup immediately.
  • Don't Share Eye Makeup: Sharing your makeup increases your risk of bacterial infection.
  • Wash Up Before Applying Eye Makeup: Wash your hands, your eyelids, and your eyelashes before you put on your makeup.
  • Don't Continue to Use Eye Makeup That Irritates Your Eyes: You may be allergic to your eye makeup if redness and irritation develop soon after you apply the product. Stop using the makeup, and stay away from other brands of makeup that contain the same ingredients. The American Optometric Association reports that makeup that contains nickel, lead, thallium, selenium, arsenic, cadmium, carmine, and beryllium is more likely to cause allergic reactions.
  • Forget About Car Touchups: You're more likely to injure your eye if you apply makeup in a car, train, or another moving vehicle.
  • Take Off Eye Makeup Before Sleeping: Eye makeup is more likely to find its way into your eyes if it's worn overnight.
  • Keep Eyeliner Off Your Lash Line: Eyeliner applied directly to the lash line can block oil glands that moisturize your eyes, causing dry eye. Applying eyeliner too close to the eye may also increase your risk of irritation or bacterial infection. In a study published in Eye & Contact Lens, researchers discovered that applying glitter eyeliner inside the lash line rather than outside of it resulted in a 15 to 30 percent increase in glitter particles in the tear film.
  • Clean Brushes and Applicators Daily: Keeping brushes and applicators clean is a simple way to reduce your risk of infection. It's best to wash applicators and brushes used on or around the eyes after every use.
  • Sharpen Eyeliner Before Every Use: Sharpening removes bacteria that can coat the tip of the eyeliner.
  • Stay Away from Shared Eye Makeup Samples: Shared samples are overflowing with bacteria. Skip the sample area unless the store offers single-use samples.
  • Use Gentle Cleaning Products: Prevent eye irritation by choosing gentle, hypoallergenic makeup remover. Baby shampoo or petroleum jelly make excellent, low-cost cleaners.

Following these makeup safety tips and scheduling regular visits to your optometrist can help you safeguard your vision. Contact our office to make your next appointment.

Sources:

American Academy of Ophthalmology: How To Use Cosmetics Safely Around Your Eyes, 3/24/21

The Ohio State University, Werner Medical Center: Are Mascara and Eyeliner Bad for Your Eyes?, 8/30/18

Eye & Contact Lens: Migration of Cosmetic Products into the Tear Film, 9/15

University of Waterloo: Study Finds Eyeliner Application May Cause Eye Problems, 4/1/15

American Optometric Association: Academy Award in Makeup? Not for These Patient Gaffes, 2/9/20

Request a complimentary eyewear style session today!

Testimonials

  • I have worn contact lenses for years but due to my strong near-sighted prescription with high astigmatism could get neither the comfort nor vision very good in standard gas permeable lenses or in soft lenses. I had reverted back to wearing glasses most of the time until Dr. Krywko recommended the SynergEyes lenses. They work great for me and I can finally wear contacts again! Thank you, Dr. Krywko!

    ...
    Show More - Anna Garity
  • Dr. Candria Kryko is a wonderful OD. I was seen by Dr. Kryko in Scottsdale recently for an eye exam/contact lens fitting. She is extremely pleasant, attentive, and she took her time to give me a thorough exam and answer all of my questions. Dr. Kryko gave me recommendations on contacts and eye drops, as well, she gave me tips on how I can save on some of my contact expenses. She was professional, attentive, took the time to explain what was needed, and was simply nice to be around. I recommend Dr. Kryko. 

    ...
    Show More - Chelsey Kerchansky
  • My entire family have been seeing Dr. Krywko for years. The professionalism, care and focus are over the top. I was told by an optician I would not be a likely candidate for contact lenses. However with Dr. Krywko's patience and wisdom she was able to fit me for contact lenses that work perfectly! I am thrilled..........Plus, I also have the most gorgeous frames (when I do not want to wear my contacts. ) I receive comments every time I wear them, " where did you get your glasses!" Dr. Kryko just received the newest styles......I'm in trouble..........

    ...
    Show More - Trish Nielsen

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday

9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Tuesday

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wednesday

12:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Thursday

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday

7:00 am - 4:00 pm

Saturday

By Appointment Only

Sunday

Closed

Monday
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday
12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thursday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday
7:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday
By Appointment Only
Sunday
Closed

Location

Find us on the map