Does wearing eyeliner on your lower lash line cause vision problems? (Photo: Henry Leutwyler)
You might want to think twice before layering on your eyeliner at your lower lash line. A new study in the Eye and Contact Lens journal found that using eyeliner on your inner lash line may put you at risk for infection and vision trouble.
The study was conducted by Dr. Alison Ng, a post-doctoral fellow in the School of Optometry and Vision Science in the Faculty of Science at Waterloo, who used video recordings to track the migration of eyeliner particles into the eye depending on the makeup application. Participants in the study applied a glitter liner to their outer lash line and then to their waterline. “We noticed the makeup migration happened quicker and was greater when the eyeliner was put on the inner lid,” says Ng.
When the liner was applied to the inner lash line, 15-30 percent more particles entered the tear film—the thin protective coating on the eye—than when liner was applied outside the lash line. The problems with liner entering the tear film ranges from minor discomfort for those with dry or sensitive eyes to more serious infections and blurred vision. “People who wear contact lenses are most likely to notice some problems,” says Ng. “If they have eyeliner stuck to their lenses, increasing deposits might cause vision disruption as the lens becomes cloudier.”
Not ready to give up inner liner? New York City-based makeup artist Lisa Aharon says there are ways to get the look and minimize your risk for infection. “When using eyeliner on your waterline, look for a cream pencil as opposed to a kohl,” says Aharon. “Kohl contains heavy metals like lead that could be harmful to the health of your eye.” Aharon also recommends avoiding glitter or metallic liners on the waterline, as the flecks are more likely to cause irritation.
When it comes to keeping your eyeliner clean of bacteria, Aharon says it’s important to sharpen your pencil before each use. “If your sharpener isn’t handy, sterilize it by spraying it with a little rubbing alcohol and clean of the tip with a tissue before application,” she says. “As long as you’re properly sanitizing your eyeliner, it should keep fresh for a year or even two.”
Aharon recommends these eyeliners for your lower lash line: