Eyelash extensions may be an attractive option for those with sparse, short, or lightly-colored lashes, but unfortunately, eyelash extensions are associated with a number of dangers. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has issued special cautions about eyelash extensions, as well as advice for anyone who still wishes to use them.


    Although it is possible to use eyelash extensions, there are a number of dangers associated with most over-the-counter, cosmetic eyelash extensions and the adhesives and glues used to apply them, as well as the solvents used to remove them. Many people have negative reactions to adhesives and solvents that contain formaldehyde and other noxious ingredients. Some patients will experience infections or allergic reactions. When left untreated, infections can pose risk of serious, irreversible eye damage.

    The most common risks of using eyelash extensions and related glues include:

    • Bacterial or fungal infections of the cornea or eyelid
    • Itching, swelling, or redness around the eyes
    • Swelling of the eyelids
    • Loss of eyelashes, which may be permanent or temporary

    If you experience any discomfort, swelling, itching, vision changes, or other symptoms when using eyelash extensions, call Silverstein Eye Centers right away to schedule an examination. Bring your eyelash extension packaging and adhesive with you to your appointment so that your doctor can examine them for potentially irritating or damaging ingredients.


    To safely use eyelash extensions, be sure that your eyes and eyelids are healthy enough to withstand the products, including the extensions, adhesives, and the solvents. If your Silverstein Eye Centers doctor gives you the okay to try eyelash extensions, be sure that you use formaldehyde-free products if you adhere them yourself. If you go to an aesthetician, make sure the staff follows a hand-washing and cleaning routine to protect you from infection, and that they also use formaldehyde-free preparations.

    Limit how frequently you use eyelash extensions as well as how long you use them. Extensive, regular use of eyelash extensions has been linked to traction alopecia — a condition in which the eyelash hairs fall out in a way that damages the hair follicles and affects the ability to grow new eyelashes. Additionally, when adhering or removing eyelash extensions, always make sure that your fingers, hands, and face are clean. It is common for dirt and bacteria to become trapped in the area of the extensions leading to infection. While using eyelash extensions, be sure to avoid rubbing your eyes or pulling on the extensions, as this can lead to irritation. Ideally, skip the eyelash extensions altogether and either learn to love your eyelashes as they are or use mascara instead of extensions.


    If you suffer from significantly thin eyelashes, Latisse™ may be an option for you. Latisse™ is a prescription solution for hypotrichosis, a condition in which the eyelashes are inadequate or there are not enough of them. Latisse™ works by causing new eyelash growth, making the eyelashes longer, thicker, and darker. For best results, Latisse™ must be used long term. After stopping treatment with Latisse™, eyelashes typically go back to their previous thickness.

    If you are experiencing irritation, redness, or signs of infection from eyelash extensions or would like to learn more about alternative options such as Latisse™, call Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816)358-3600 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon.

    Posted April 24, 2014 by Silverstein Eye Centers
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