The One Makeup Mistake That Almost Left This Woman Blind

Photo Credits: Anna Moller/ Getty Images | Model Used for Illustrative Purpose Only

Whether it’s a boozy night out or a particularly late TV binge, it can be hard to motivate ourselves to take off our makeup before falling asleep. In fact, almost all makeup-wearers can admit to committing this beauty faux pas in the past. However, one woman learned the hard way that sleeping in makeup can cause more damage than we originally thought.

According to Yahoo!, an article recently published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology revealed that a 50-year-old woman named Theresa Lynch almost went blind after inadequately removing her mascara for 25 years.

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Plagued with a “chronic foreign body sensation in both eyes,” Lynch sought out medical advice, leading doctors to discover that she had developed calcified bumps, identified as concretions, underneath her eyelids. These bumps were essentially a buildup of mascara fragments that had never been washed away properly (you can view the images here and here. But beware, they’re extremely graphic).

“The lumps were embedded so deep that particles were building up on top of each other,” Lynch told Yahoo!. “I was so uncomfortable. My eyelids were swollen and heavy because I left it for so long.” 

Unfortunately, the lumps posed a major risk to Lynch’s vision because they would rub across the surface of her eye every time she blinked. “If the scratch on the surface of the eye got infected, there is a risk this could be potentially blinding, but that would be rare,” Lynch’s ophthalmic surgeon, Dana Robaei, MBBS, told Daily Mail.

“She has suffered permanent scarring on her eyelid and the surface of her cornea,” Robaei added. “The symptoms are like somebody throwing a handful of sand in your eye—it’s constantly irritating.”

While Lynch’s case is rare, it’s still important to know just how dangerous sleeping in your eye makeup can be. Because everyone is given only one pair of eyes in their lifetime, it’s smart to take care of them the best you can, and that includes taking your makeup off each and every night.

  • Keshini Parbhu, MD
    Posted on

    It's important to take off all face and eye makeup before going to bed! Good skin is the foundation for makeup! It's important to remove eye makeup not only because mascara can embed itself into the conjunctiva but also because it blocks the openings of the meibomian oil glands that lie adjacent to the lash follicles. Damage to these glands can result in dry eye. I like to make an analogy of dry eyes to dry skin - when your skin is dry it can abrade just like the surface of the eye will if it is too dry. I agree that this is an extreme example but it is important to stress removal of eye AND face makeup before going to bed at night... and one last piece of advice - please remove contact lenses before going to sleep as well!

  • Crissy
    Posted on

    It's good information to have, but the headline, really?? Almost blind? Taken from your own article: “If the scratch on the surface of the eye got infected, there is a risk this could be potentially blinding, but that would be rare,” Lynch’s ophthalmic surgeon, Dana Robaei, MBBS, told Daily Mail. To wrap it up, she didn't almost go blind—she didn't even get an infection! Geeeeeez.

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