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Cosmetic Safety for Contact Lens Wearers

What eye hazards may be associated with cosmetic use?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association, cosmetics are among some of the most common sources of problems for contact lens wearers. Misusing cosmetics can lead to severe adverse reactions, including:

Picture of an eye, close-up, external

  • Deposits on the lens

  • Eye irritation

  • Allergy

  • Injury

  • Infection

  • Dryness

What safety practices should take place?

There are safety measures for choosing, applying, and wearing cosmetics, which you can follow to protect your eyes and provide for long-term, problem-free contact lens wear, including:

  • Choose unscented, hypoallergenic cosmetics manufactured by a well-known brand name that you trust.

  • Wash your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses.

  • Do not borrow or lend your cosmetics to others.

  • Wash all makeup application brushes frequently.

  • Apply makeup after inserting the contact lenses.

  • Do not purchase mascara refills in which you insert your old applicator.

  • Avoid frosted, pearlized, iridescent, or other glittery types of eye shadow, which may contain ground oyster shells or tinsel.

  • Do not apply eyeliner to the inner edge of the lid or above the lash line on the lower lid.

  • Avoid using loose powder on the face.

  • Do not apply creams too close to the eyes.

  • Never apply eye makeup while in motion or while driving.

  • Do not use water or saliva to lubricate applicator or thin cosmetics.

  • Do not apply cosmetics if your eyes are red, swollen, or infected. Consult your ophthalmologist or optometrist if symptoms persist.

Online Medical Reviewer: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: Bogus, William J., OD, FAAO
Last Review Date: 3/19/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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