Eyelash Extensions and Eye Health – are eyelash extensions safe ?

Eyelash Extensions and Eye Health – are eyelash extensions safe ?


Eyelash extensions can give you quite a dramatic look, and they are becoming an increasingly popular beauty trend. Are these lash extensions safe ?

Having seen several patients in the last few months with eyelash extensions related problems including eyelash extension infections and allergic reactions to eyelash extensions, we felt we should as a public service provide information about some of the issues that can occur and how they might be prevented.

Risks of Eyelash Extensions


Reaction to adhesive and solvents

Allergic reactions to eyelash extensions may occur resulting in itching, redness and swelling. A patch test with the agents prior to installation is good practice.

The worst reaction we have seen at Centre for Sight was the result of spillage into the eye of the solvent to remove the lashes. This caused an injury to the corneal surface in both eyes and a few months later resulted in deposition of intense white calcium on the cornea and reduction in vision. Thankfully with modern laser eye surgery techniques the problem was satisfactorily resolved.

Accumulation of debris

Between the lash extension and the lid margin is a potential space where old skin, oily secretions and crusts can get deposited. The danger is this organic material is food for bugs like bacteria which can spill over into the eye. Contact lens wearers in particular need to be cautious as the bacteria can cause corneal ulcers on a surface that might be slightly compromised from contact lens wear. The risk of infection is we believe higher and seen this in two patients recently. Ulcers require intensive antibiotic treatment and can result in corneal scars and permanent visual loss.

Damage to Lash Follicles

Bacterial infestation and inflammation at the base of the natural lash can cause permanent damage to hair follicles. Also with the extensions attached to the lashes, the natural lashes can break harming follicles further. As a result, you may end up with fewer lashes long term.

Alternatives to Lash extensions

Mascara is obvious but do not have the same effect as eyelash extensions. Latisse derived from drugs used for the treatment of glaucoma can increase eyelash growth.

Eyelash extensions are very popular for enhancing the appearance and safe if managed with care and attention. It is useful to know of some of the issues and problems that can arise. It is therefore very important to find a reputable salon or provider who can install them with great care and attention and also advise on aftercare which should be followed.