Posted by: Eyecare Associates of New Orleans in Eye Health on June 18, 2024

Eyelashes are not just a popular beauty trend. They are a vital part of our eye health, acting as a protective barrier against debris, infection, or injury. Understanding their natural growth cycle, which occurs every six to ten weeks when they replace themselves after a few are lost, is key to maintaining their health. The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises that losing between one and five eyelashes daily is normal. However, a sudden lash loss, known as madarosis, could be a sign of an underlying health issue in the eye or another part of the body.

What Are Common Causes of Eyelash Loss

Irritation from cosmetics. Improper use of eye makeup can lead to lash damage and accelerated shedding. Leaving eye makeup on for too long, using and removing lash extensions, and using eyelash curlers (heated or non-heated) can all harm lashes. Allergies to mascara and the glue used for eyelash extensions are also potential health issues. It’s crucial to be aware of these risks and take preventive measures to protect your lash health.

Blepharitis. This condition is characterized by itchiness or burning, accompanied by redness or swelling of the lids. You may also notice crusty debris at the base of your lashes. Blepharitis occurs when clogged oil glands near the base of the eyelashes cause chronic inflammation and problems in the eyelash follicles.

Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is when emotional or psychological distress causes a person to pull out their eyelashes habitually.

Skin cancer. More rarely, localized lash loss can be a symptom of skin cancer on the eyelid. This type of cancer can interrupt eyelash growth as harmful cells spread. If you notice a persistent sore, lump, or growth on your eyelid, or if your eyelid becomes thickened or discolored, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Other causes of lash loss include chronic or recurrent styes and chalaziaocular rosacea, or bacterial or fungal infections in one or both eyes.

How To Prevent Eyelash Loss?

  • Keep your lashes healthy – by washing your face and eyelids daily with a mild cleanser. Avoid rubbing your eyes harshly, as this can lead to lash breakage. Instead, gently pat your face dry with a clean towel. Also, consider using a lash serum or conditioner to promote lash growth and strength.
  • A healthy diet that includes proteins, fruits, vegetables, and sufficient iron will help with the health and maintenance of long, full eyelashes. These nutrients are essential for keratin production, the protein that makes up your lashes. Iron, in particular, is important for lash growth, as it helps deliver oxygen to the hair follicles.
  • Magnetic or glued lashes can irritate the sensitive skin around the eyes, dip into the eye, and scratch the cornea if not applied properly. To reduce the likelihood of possible complications, wear false lashes for special occasions only, and make sure to have a professional do it.

Eyelash Makeup Safety Tips

  • Throw away eye makeup after three months and buy new products. Expired eye makeup can harbor bacteria and other pathogens that can cause eye infections. This is especially true for mascara, which can become a breeding ground for bacteria after a few months of use.
  • If an eye infection develops, toss all your makeup and don’t use makeup until the infection is gone.
  • If lashes are clumped together by mascara or another product, don’t use anything sharp to separate the lashes – this can easily poke or scratch your eye.
  • Remove all eye makeup nightly before sleeping, especially mascara that can stick to the lashes. If not removed properly, eye makeup can irritate the eye.
  • Vaseline is a very effective eye makeup remover. It is lubricating and soothing to the skin and helps eye makeup slide off without unnecessary tugging and pulling. It’s also safe around the eyes and won’t irritate. However, be sure to use a clean cotton pad or swab each time you dip into the jar to avoid introducing bacteria.

Look Great, and Stay Safe

While we understand the desire to look your best, we prioritize your safety and eye health. If you experience any irritation, swelling, redness, or other symptoms around your eyes, our team is here to ensure your eyes stay healthy. We are committed to helping you maintain your eye health while looking your ultimate best.

We want to help our patients keep their eyes healthy while looking their best!

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References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association
 The information and discussion about eye health and related subjects in this blog are based on the guidelines and research of reputable organizations such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

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