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“Are Eyelash Extensions Safe?”

Eyelash extensions are becoming more popular. Before you decide to get eyelash extensions, you need to keep in mind the possible risks to your eye health.

Eyelash extensions are commonly made of either a synthetic material or mink fur. They are attached to your original lashes with a special adhesive or eyelash glue. Eyelash glue may contain formaldehyde which is toxic. If the glue enters in contact with your eyelid or the eye, it can cause a severe allergic reaction or even a chemical burn. I have had patients consult with inflamed eyelids (blepharitis) or irritated corneas. Some patients are in such distress that they ask us to remove the eyelash extensions immediately.  The extensions tug on your current lashes and cause trauma to the base of the lashes. The extensions can actually end up causing your own natural eyelashes to fall out.

We have had several patients consult our clinic because a false eyelash fell in her eye. False eyelashes are thicker and sharper than our real lashes and are more likely to irritate or scratch the cornea (corneal abrasion).

Another more serious complication is infection. Bacteria and dirt can become trapped underneath the extensions and you could end up with an eye infection. Some estheticians don’t wash their hands or disinfect their tools properly increasing the risk of infection further.

Lastly, keep in mind that an accident can happen during the process. A slip near the eye with a sharp tool can result in a serious eye injury.

Unfortunately, there are currently no laws in Quebec regulating the use of eyelash extensions. Always ask your esthetician about the ingredients in the adhesive used for the extensions. Many estheticians claim to be experts in eyelash extensions. It’s important to choose an esthetician who is certified.

 

Dr Angela Issa, optometrist