Young man had ‘zombie eyes’ because of eyelash extensions; see risks – 08/31/2022

A 17-year-old girl suffered an allergic reaction after undergoing an eyelash extension procedure. Haley Fetzer was left with swollen eyes and coughing up mucus. In an interview with the Kennedy News, an American newspaper, she said that she was afraid to scare the children in her neighborhood because she had “zombie eyes”.

The procedure was done in July to impress classmates at the high school prom, but it appears to have gone awry. “Every time I blinked, a little goo came out of my eyes, I thought I would go blind,” said the young woman, who also felt a lot of pain in the region. As the condition worsened, she sought help to undo the procedure, and it took five weeks for her eyes to return to normal.

The eyelash extension procedure can actually cause allergy, irritation and, in severe cases, even an eye stroke. Before opting for the aesthetic procedure, it is important to make an evaluation with an ophthalmologist, because there may be contraindications.

Eyelashes serve to protect the eyes from foreign bodies such as dust and even sweat from the eyelids. In this region, there are several glands responsible for the lubrication of the eyes. Patients with a lot of oil should not do stretching, as they need to maintain a more rigid hygiene routine and, with the procedure, the orientation is not to rub the eyelash region. People who wear contact lenses should also not stretch.

What are the health risks?

“Most of the time, the yarn material used is synthetic, so it’s not the same as natural lashes, and the glue used is a chemical product, which can cause contact dermatitis (irritation). eyelashes can clog the eye’s lubrication production glands”, says Ludmila Corral, dermatologist and preceptor of the dermatology trichology outpatient clinic at HUOL-UFRN (Onofre Lopes University Hospital, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte).

In addition, an eyelash extension or even false lashes — in case of prolonged use — can change the normal arched formation of natural eyelashes, due to the weight of the material, causing them to no longer be properly aligned.

“This can lead to the fragility and fall of natural eyelashes, increase susceptibility to infections by traumatizing the surface and even lead to an eye stroke”, describes Carla Christina de Lima Pereira, ophthalmologist, PhD in surgery research at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Holy House of Sao Paulo.

Other pathologies that can arise with the use of false eyelashes or stretching are recurrent inflammation, such as blepharitis (inflammation of the outer edge of the eyelids), allergies, allergic conjunctivitis, among others.

“The risks of false eyelashes and stretching / extension are the same, but the extension has an aggravating factor of staying on average for 20 days, and then maintenance comes, it is different from an occasional use of false eyelashes”, emphasizes the dermatologist from HUOL -UFRN

treatments and care

Treatment is based on the diagnosis that caused the problem. The main thing is usually to remove the synthetic lashes and go without them during the recovery time.

“The use of these products constitutes a source of contamination for tears. In the emergency clinics of the Lauro Wanderley University Hospital, we usually treat patients with eye injuries due to the presence of false eyelashes, such as conjunctival trauma and even severe ulcers. I myself have had two cases of severe ulcer after a stretching procedure”, warns Pereira, an ophthalmologist, who is also the preceptor of the medical residency in ophthalmology at the UFPB (Federal University of Paraíba).

These complications can even lead to loss of vision. “This type of eye infection leads to the loss of corneal transparency, and it is often necessary to perform a corneal transplant for visual recovery”, explains the UFPB ophthalmologist.

Another important point is not to do the stretching alone and, mainly, not to use inappropriate products, such as any type of glue. If you want to lengthen your eyelashes, look for a specialized professional and also do the maintenance.

“Even so, if the person uses it too often, damage will accumulate and, when removing synthetic eyelashes, we can lose up to 30% of the natural ones”, warns the dermatologist from HUOL-UFRN.

*With information from an article published on 06/23/2022

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