June 5, 2018 1:58 pm
Updated: June 5, 2018 3:23 pm

Woman develops hard, dark spots inside eyelid — turns out it’s years of unwashed mascara

WATCH: A reminder about why you need to wash off eye makeup – and how to remove it


If you ever needed another reason to wash your makeup off before bed, just take a look at this picture.

A case study recently published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, shows a graphic image of a 50-year-old woman’s eyelid after she repeatedly used mascara for more than 25 years, but never took time to remove it properly.

Speaking with the Daily Mail, the patient, Theresa Lynch, who lives in Australia, told the site her eyelids were swollen and heavy because she had left her makeup on for so long.

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“I had fallen into a bad habit of wearing a lot of makeup and not washing it off. I should never have let it get this far,” she said. “It’s so important to properly take your makeup off every single night. You can’t miss a single day.”

READ MORE: 6 mistakes people make when they wash their face

Risks involved

According to the study authored by ophthalmologist Dr. Dana Robaei, Lynch had developed “chronic foreign body sensation in both eyes,” the case notes.

“Every time Theresa was blinking these bumps were rubbing on the surface of the eye and they pose a risk to her vision,” Robaei told the Daily Mail. “If the scratch on the surface of the eye got infected, there is a risk this could be a potentially blinding but that would be rare.”

WATCH: What you need to know about washing your face

She notes because of the heavy mascara use, Lynch had developed darkly pigmented subconjunctival concretions (or hard solid masses) inside of her upper lid. Some of the dark spots were eroding through the surface of her lids.

She notes Lynch’s “lumps” became a risk to her vision and it took a 90-minute procedure to remove them.

Why does this happen? Pores

Ophthalmologist Dr. Ken Roberts, a member of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, tells Global News the eyelid, both outside and inside is covered in pores (think sweat glands, oil glands, hair follicles etc.).

“When makeup is applied, it can block these openings and potentially get down into the glands. This interrupts the normal flow out of the gland causing an obstruction,” he says. “This can lead to cyst formation, inflammation and ultimately irritation of the lid or eyeball itself.”

He adds makeup applied to the edge of the lid like mascara or eyeliner, is often seen in “great abundance” in the tear film.

READ MORE: 3 easy steps for spring cleaning your makeup bag

“This has the effect firstly of being irritating to the eye and lid during each blink, and secondly can cause ocular surface inflammation which can lead to or worsen a dry eye state. Without clearing away the makeup every day, you increase the risk of styes, allergy and can worsen [or] start a dry-eye state.”

And in Lynch’s case, while losing vision was rare, Roberts says any of the conditions mentioned above can impact your vision.

“You may see less clearly, have more irritation and not be able to wear contact lenses. It would rarely lead to any permanent vision loss, however.”

How to wash off eye makeup

And while there are a ton of methods to remove eye makeup — oil-based cleansers to makeup removal wipes to micellar water — Roberts says it’s important to stick to a routine and not sleep with any eye makeup on.

“Best practice for makeup removal is to just simply remove it at the end of every day,” he continues. “There are many different methods, but the key thing is to just use one of them.”

READ MORE: Reality check — Should you throw away your lipstick after being sick?

He says when you choose a method, add in a magnifying mirror to see if there is any leftover dirt or gunk. “The edge of the lid at the base of the lashes is the most important area to clear. There are specialized makeup removing pads, but a facecloth with warm water and a mild cleanser/mild diluted baby shampoo/specialized gel is effective.”


© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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