Are Lash Lifts Safe?

Is it safe to do an eyelash lift at home?

NO!  It is never safe to do an eyelash lift at home. With an at home eyelash lift, you are gluing your eyelashes to your upper lid to keep your eye open and applying chemicals that are harmful to the eye on the lashes. Your eye is very exposed and very much at risk. The exposure alone, without being able to blink and lubricate the eye, for 3 to 4 minutes or longer, can cause ulceration of the cornea, infection and permanent vision loss. If the perm solution, most often ammonia or formaldehyde, were to get into the eye, it can seriously damage the cornea and cause conjunctiva and cause blindness. 


 Do eyelash lifts damage the eyelashes? 

YES!  The chemical perming solution breaks down the keratin shaft of the eyelash in order to bend it to the shape of the curler. This leaves eyelashes brittle and weak, and prone to breaking, leaving stubbles. The chemicals are toxic to the meibomian glands at the lash bases, and these can die causing the lid architecture to disrupt, and cause eyelashes to grow in a misdirected fashion, scraping on the eye. I have also heard of cases where the eyelashes fell out, leaving bare areas along the lash line. 


Can you damage your eyes by doing an at-home lash lift?  

YES!  You can cause permanent damage to your eyes and even blindness by doing an at- home lash lift.  You can get exposure keratopathy, leading to corneal ulcers and infection, and permanent corneal scarring leaving you with poor vision. The perm solutions contain ammonia and formaldehyde, which can get into your eyes and cause immediate irritation and pain and then loss of vision, as these basic solutions damage the cornea and the blood vessels to the eye. The ammonia and formaldehyde in the perm solutions kill the meibomian glands at the base of the lashes, which do not regenerate, causing the oil component of the tears to not be produced and leaving you with a permanent red, irritated dry eye, blurry vision and tearing. The perm solution also can damage the goblet cells on the ocular surface, which produce the mucous layer of the tears, exacerbating the dry, red irritated eye.


 What are some of the risks to the eyes and eye area?

Lash lifts can cause allergic reactions to the glue, adhesive and chemicals, causing swollen, red, painful and itchy eyelids and eyes. The chemicals in the eyelash perm solution contain ammonia and formaldehyde, which can kill the delicate structures that are important to eye health like the meibomian glands, which are at the lid bases and produce the oil layer of the tears and help preserve the architecture of the eyelid. These glands do not regenerate, and their death can lead to permanent dry eye symptoms of red, irritated eyes, blurry vision, and tearing. The chemicals can also kill the goblet cells on the surface of the conjunctiva, which produce the mucous layer of the tears, again exacerbating dry eyes, causing irritated eyes, blurry vision and tearing.  If the perm solution gets on the cornea, it can cause permanent scarring of the cornea, possible bacterial infection and blindness. 


What should someone do if they do an at-home lash lift and get some in their eyes or experience irritation?  

Immediately flush the eye with copious amounts of water or eyewash solution for 20 minutes.  If vision is affected, or the eye is persistently red and painful after flushing copiously, you should immediately go to the local emergency room or your eye doctor’s office.  

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