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The Hazards of Looking Good

Magazines, newspapers and TV smother us with images of the ideal look.  In fact, the average American woman spends 12K a year to look good!  This figure may seem high however, consider what you spend a year on all beauty and grooming products, hair and nail appointments, and of course clothing. Expense of these products alone can cause pain however, if you’re not careful, some of these products can cause costly eye health issues.  Careless use of eye makeup and hair dye can cause serious harm to your vision.  The U.S. Product Safety Commission estimates that over 250,000 product-related eye injuries are treated annually.  Hair dye, commonly applied at home by thousands of women, can cause serious damage and vision loss if used incorrectly.  Warnings against the potential harm from these products are stated clearly on all packages, but many people ignore them.  To avoid chemical burn to the eyes form hair dye, strictly adhere to the warnings on the package and avoid contact with your eyes.  In the event contact is made, flush the eyes with cold water for 20 minutes and then seek immediate care from your Optometrist.

Although cosmetics are typically not as dangerous as hair dyes, they can also lead to eye injuries and irritations.  Simple precautions, if followed, can eliminate virtually all of these types of eye injuries.  To use makeup safely:

  • Wash your hands before application, so bacteria will not be transferred from your hands to your eyes.
  • Immediately stop using eye products that cause irritation. If irritation persists, see your eye doctor.
  • Use disposable applicators if possible and only use them once.
  • Keep makeup away from excessive cold that can break down the preservatives and allow bacteria to grow.
  • Don’t store cosmetics at temperatures above 85 degrees F. Cosmetics held for long periods in hot cars, for example, are more susceptible to deterioration of the preservative.
  • Avoid products that are labeled natural and preservative-free, since they may breed bacteria.
  • Avoid eye cosmetics that are iridescent, glittery, or shiny, as they may contain ingredients that could scratch or irritate the eye.
  • Do not moisten cosmetics with water or saliva, since this may promote bacterial growth.
  • Never share your makeup with others.
  • Do not switch mascara brushes from one container to another.
  • Avoid kohl eyeliners they may contain dangerous levels of lead.
  • Avoid permanent coloring and dyes for eyelashes, as they can cause irreversible eye damage if not used correctly.
  • Use cosmetics labeled fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic or for sensitive skin, to reduce the chance of allergic reaction.
  • Never use a pin or sharp objects to separate your eyelashes after mascara application.
  • Never put your eye cosmetics on while you’re driving or riding in a car.
  • Remove makeup every night. Never sleep with it on.

If you have questions concerning cosmetics and your eyes please call our office in Stillwater at 405-372-1715. We also invite you to visit our website at and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eye Care Center!