The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Abstract: Mascara and your eyes....

In our 'hardcore' dry eye crowd on DryEyeTalk, I think an awful lot of us have simply relegated eye makeup to 'special occasions only' status at most. But amongst newbies and those with mild to moderate conditions I know there are many using mascara regularly - and in fact there's a lot of information sharing going on about which products are most friendly to dry, sensitive eyes.

Anyway, I thought you'd be interested in the blurb about this study, which is the first of its kind I've run across. Always fun to see new words coined ("dacryomascarolith"?!)

Ocular manifestations of long-term mascara use.
Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Jul-Aug;25(4):339-41.
Ciolino JB, Mills DM, Meyer DR.

Mascara, a widely used cosmetic, is associated with eye pathology. The authors report 3 cases of eye problems secondary to long-term mascara use. Two patients had multiple pigmented conjunctival lesions; one of these had a history of melanoma of the hand. Conjunctival biopsy revealed nonmelanocytic pigment granules within conjunctival stroma cells in both cases. The other patient had a history of dry eye, and also showed pigment clumping around a punctal plug. The third patient had canalicular obstruction from a mascara-laden dacryolith ("dacryomascaralith"), the first such case reported. A literature review revealed cases of eyelid dermatitis, infectious keratitis, a conjunctival mass ("mascaroma"), and others. Ophthalmologists should be aware of mascara's associated eye problems. The physical findings combined with a high index of suspicion, especially in cases of heavy mascara use, may allow for an accurate diagnosis and spare the patient an otherwise unnecessary invasive procedure.