If your eyes feel dry and irritated after wearing eyeliner—you aren’t alone. Many patients report symptoms of dry eye syndrome after rocking a smoky eye look, especially for extended periods of time.
The good news is those makeup lovers who have dry eye syndrome can continue to put their best face forward with the guidance of their dry eye optometrist.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic lack of ocular hydration that can be caused by several factors, including genetics, environmental irritants, allergies, certain medical conditions, specific medications and hormonal fluctuations.
Symptoms of DES may include:
- Burning eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Red or irritated eyes
- Dry eyes
- Watery eyes
- Mucus around the eyes
- Discomfort while wearing contact lenses
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
- Eyes that ache or feel heavy
DES treatment depends on the underlying cause of the problem. Your dry eye optometrist will thoroughly evaluate your eyes to find and treat the source of your symptoms.
Can Eyeliner and Other Eye Makeup Cause Dry Eyes?
Our eyes are lined with tiny glands, known as meibomian glands, at the edge of both the upper and lower eyelids that secrete nourishing oils into our tears to help prevent premature tear evaporation. Any blockages or irritation in these glands can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a leading cause of dry eye symptoms.
A recent study published in The Journal of Cornea and External Disease found that the regular use of eyeliner can cause the tear film to become unstable as the eyeliner can clog these small meibomian glands.
An important measurement, known as tear film breakup time, was much lower in the eyeliner-wearing group in the study, indicating that their tears evaporated more quickly. The same group also had reduced meibomian gland function and more symptoms of MGD.
The good news is that you can still wear eyeliner and other eye makeup products, despite having dry eyes. Here’s how:
Tips for Safely Wearing Eyeliner With Dry Eyes
- Only use eye makeup products that are intended for use around the eye area.
- Keep your makeup and applicators clean. Sharpen your eyeliner pencil and clean your brushes before each use to avoid contamination.
- Replace your eye makeup as often as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Never share your makeup with friends or family members.
- Avoid liners or shadows with glitter, as the particles can easily disrupt your tear film.
- Try to stick to cream-based products for the least amount of irritation.
- Apply eye makeup to the outside of your eyelashes. Lining the inner rim of your eyelids can clog or irritate the meibomian glands.
- Be diligent about eye hygiene. Always thoroughly wash your face and eyes before bed with eye-safe cleaning products.
- Visit your dry eye optometrist!
Our Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help
At South Coast Optometry, we know that our patients want to look and feel their best. That’s why we tailor your dry eye treatment to suit your lifestyle and needs.
If you or a loved one suffers from symptoms of DES to any degree, we can help. Our optometric team will determine the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the relief you seek.
To schedule a dry eye consultation, comtact South Coast Optometry today!
South Coast Optometry serves patients from Costa Mesa, Orange County, Newport Beach and Irvine, California and surrounding communities.
- A: Yes, certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated. Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film. These include Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, B, C, E, as well as Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
- A: When chronic dry eye isn’t treated, several eye conditions can occur: pink eye (conjunctivitis), keratitis (corneal inflammation) and corneal ulcers. DES can also make it difficult or impossible to wear contact lenses, cause difficulty with reading and trigger headaches.