A growing trend we are seeing lately is for the application of false lashes to make the eyelashes appear fuller and thicker. There are several different types of extensions, for the purposes of this article we will focus on the small fibers that are glued on to your existing eyelashes in groups or individually.
The risk involved with eyelash extensions can be divided into 4 different categories: injury, allergy, infection and permanent damage. These are summarized below:
1. Allergy: the adhesive that is used to apply the eyelash extensions contain chemicals that will often cause allergic reactions. Consumer Reports published an article which highlighted many cases of badly swollen, red and painful eyelids from the formal dehye-based glue used in eyelash extensions.
2. Injury: the act of applying eyelash extensions is very delicate work involving the use of sharp tweezers close to your eyes. An error could result in a corneal abrasion, which is painful, usually requires treatment involving medications and typically takes several days to heal (a corneal abrasion, if it becomes infected, may cause permanent vision loss).
3. Infection: may occur as a result of the application process itself, or well after the extensions are in place. Blepharitis is a condition where the eyelids become inflamed and infected as a result of bacterial buildup at the base of your eyelashes. Artificial eyelash extensions may contribute to the development of blepharitis.
4. Permanent damage: The American Academy of Ophthalmology lists “temporary or permanent loss of eyelashes” as one of the risks involved with eyelash extensions. This happens as a result of follicle damage from repeated use of eyelash extensions.
It’s important to be aware of the risks involved with all cosmetic procedures, and eyelash extensions are no exception. If you decide to get them, make sure you are working with a reputable and experienced aesthetician using sterilized equipment. Any adverse symptoms such as those listed above should be promptly evaluated by your eye doctor.