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Women's Center

Healthy Woman - Cosmetic Safety for Contact Lens Wearers

What eye hazards may be associated with cosmetic use?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, cosmetics are among some of the most common sources of problems for contact lens wearers. Misusing cosmetics can lead to severe adverse reactions, including:

Picture of an eye, close-up, external
  • deposits on the lens
  • eye irritation
  • allergy
  • injury
  • infection
  • dryness

What safety practices should take place?

There are safety measures for choosing, applying, and wearing cosmetics, which you can follow to protect your eyes and provide for long-term, problem-free contact lens wear, including:

  • Choose non-scented, hypoallergenic cosmetics manufactured by a well-known brand name that you trust.
  • Wash your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses.
  • Do not borrow or lend your cosmetics to others.
  • Wash all make-up application brushes frequently.
  • Apply make-up after inserting the contact lenses.
  • Do not purchase mascara refills in which you insert your old applicator.
  • Avoid frosted, pearlized, iridescent, or other glittery types of eyeshadow, which may contain ground oyster shells or tinsel.
  • Do not apply eyeliner to the inner edge of the lid or above the lash line on the lower lid.
  • Avoid using loose powder on the face.
  • Do not apply creams too close to the eyes.
  • Never apply eye makeup while in motion or while driving.
  • Do not use water or saliva to lubricate applicator or thin cosmetics.
  • Do not apply cosmetics if your eyes are red, swollen, or infected. Consult your ophthalmologist if symptoms persist.

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