An Australian patient has recently suffered the consequences of 25 years of improperly using a harmless-looking cosmetic product, mascara. Because of not taking her make up at night, this woman in her fifties originally from Sydney has ended up developing a lot of small, hard clumps of mascara that have become embedded into the underside of her eyelids and have caused a severe irritation in her cornea.
Online video platforms or social media sites are full of make-up tutorials these days. Tips and tricks on every tiny little thing imaginable, but a lot of videos forget to highlight the importance of an extremely important part of wearing make-up, taking it off.
Theresa Lynch, a fifty-something-year old from Sydney recently paid the price for this, as a study published in the Ophthalmology magazine and printed by the American Academy of Ophthalmology reveals. Suffering from an unpleasant irritation in her eyes, the Australian patient went to see Dana Robaei, an ophthalmology specialist at the Save Sight Institute at the University of Sydney and a part of the Ophthalmology department at Westmead Hospital.
However accustomed to complex ophthalmology conditions she may have been, the specialist diagnosed the patient with a condition that she had never seen before.
A significant examination
After lifting up the fifty year old’s eyelids, the ophthalmologist then discovered a collection of small spherical clumps of mascara located in the mucous membrane which coats the inside of the eyelids, the conjunctiva. And all because she had followed a make-up routine for a quarter of a century that was improper to say the least.
“She had been heavily using mascara on her eyelashes for more than 25 years without removing it properly,” explained the ophthalmologist. After decades of sleeping with make-up on, the patient had developed lots of small clumps of solidified mascara that had become embedded into the underside of her eyelid.
As a result, whenever she blinked, these clumps would rub against her eyeball and end up causing an severe irritation in the patients cornea. This ended up leading to a unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling as she described in an interview she gave to the Daily Mail, “The symptoms are like someone throwing a handful of sand in your eye, it’s constantly irritating.”
A problematic mix
The ingredients that mascara consists of include oils, waxes and pigments that are likely – when not properly removed at the end of the day – to move from the eyelashes to the surface of the eyeball. Some products also contain synthetic fibers which are even more likely to move. In the case of Australian Theresa Lynch, these compounds had become trapped under her eyelids in specific immune cells, macrophages that are capable of “phagocyting” – meaning “ingesting” foreign substances.
After an hour and a half long operation, the ophthalmologist managed to remove the clumps that had gathered under the patient’s eyelids, who will now have to live with permanent scarring on the surface of her eyeballs and on the underside of her eyelids.
But what assures make-up tutorial fans is that this medical case was quite rare, as the Australian specialist assures, “This was an amazing case. I’d never seen anything like it. But this is a risk not many people are aware of.”
This was a point of view that was shared by the patient, who finally gives some sensible advice. “It’s so important to properly take your make-up off every single night. You can’t miss a single day,” warns Theresa Lynch. This was a recommendation that no doubt millions of people who watch make-up videos online will now follow.