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Health warning for any Lady Gaga-esque eyelash lovers

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Stars such as Lady Gaga have made false eyelashes an everyday accessory, but they come with a health warning if not cared for properly
 Photo: © Rex

13 MAY 2010

She’s known as much for her sense of style and adventurous make-up as much as her music so it’s no wonder Lady Gaga have had an effect on cosmetic trends – Debenhams has reported a year-on-year increase of 1000 per cent in sales of false lashes, without which the singer is never seen.

But careless application and storage of fake lashes could carry a health risk - dirt and bacteria can easily be transferred onto eyelids and the cornea, according to the National Eyecare Trust, which can lead to eye infections and in the most serious (but rare) cases result in permanent sight loss.

Iain Anderson, chairman of the Eyecare Trust, points out: “Failing to follow a good hygiene routine when wearing false lashes puts you at risk of suffering irritation and nasty eye infections such as conjunctivitis and bacterial keratitis. Common symptoms of these eye infections include: red, sore or gritty eyes; a watery discharge; sensitivity to the light; headaches; blurred vision and in severe cases, reduced visual acuity.”

So the Trust has put together a list of lash-friendly tips to keep eyes safe and your looks intact, minimising the risk of dirt and bacteria accumulating around the lid from where they can move into the eye, causing possible injury and infection:

1. Always wash your hands before applying fake lashes and never stick them to your own lashes to avoid ripping them out, which can damage the root area. Make sure you glue them to the lid following the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Don’t wear more than one pair at once trying to create super volume – bacteria can gather between the strips. And avoid attaching jewels or other decorations which could scratch and seriously injure the eye if they came loose.

3. Clean the false lashes thoroughly before reuse to help reduce bacteria and dirt being reintroduced to the eye area next time you wear your falsies. And store them in a clean, dry case rather than chucking them on a shelf where they can pick up more nasties.

4. Throw the lashes away at the first sign of wear and tear – again, bacteria can breed in the cracks, which can also collect dirt.

5. Never share your lashes with anyone else to prevent cross infection and remove the lashes before bed to reduce irritation.

You can get more information about conjunctivitis, keratitis and general eye health issues at www.eyecaretrust.org.uk.

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