Could your cosmetics be leading to dry eye disease?

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Dry eye is becoming quite the buzz word. We are hearing more about it as we spend more time on digital devices and as dry eye research and treatment options expand rapidly. Is there anything in your beauty routine that could be contributing to or increasing your risk of developing dry eye disease?

Dry eye disease has many different causes and factors. One common factor is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) — a condition that affects roughly 20-50% of the population. Meibomian (my-bo-mee-an) glands are little oil glands which line our eyelids and open near the base of our eyelashes. The meibomian glands have been getting much more attention lately as we have learned more about their functioning and importance for quality tear production. They secrete the oily component of our tears which prevents evaporation and keeps our tears stable on the eye’s surface. MGD occurs when the oil in the glands does not flow properly which can lead to dryness, inflammation, irritation, tearing, styles, as well as permanent damage to the gland structure. 

MGD can be detected during a routine eye examination. Our optometrists assess the gland function under the slit lamp but also take scans of the glands using meibography. This advanced technology allows us to view their structure and address early signs of trouble before dry eye symptoms occur. 

More research is revealing that certain ingredients frequently found in cosmetics like mascara, eye shadows, face creams, and eyelash enhancements may be toxic to these glands. Here are a few tips to keep your meibomian glands healthy:

Things to avoid:
Sleeping with makeup on
Waterproof eye makeup
Eyelash perms and tints
Eyelash extensions
Eyeliner tattoos
Specific ingredients to avoid near the eyes:
Tretinoin or retinols
Botox (specifically for crow’s feet)

There are many more ingredients that can be problematic or irritating to the eyes. For more information see your optometrist.

Written by Trevor Miranda

Dr. Miranda was raised in Simcoe, Ontario and graduated from the University of Waterloo with his Doctorate of Optometry in 1995. Following graduation, he moved to beautiful Vancouver Island, where he continues to serve the eye care needs of the Cowichan Valley. Trevor is also an active member of the Third World Eye Care Society and has participated with other professionals to improve the vision of the less fortunate. Dr. Miranda was named Optometrist of the Year by the British Columbia Association of Optometrists in March 2015. This prestigious honour recognized Dr. Miranda’s commitment to providing every patient with exceptional care while mentoring optometrists across Canada. Outside the office, you will find Trevor enjoying hockey, coaching soccer, involved with the South Cowichan Rotary Club, and spending time with his wife Cheryl and their three children. Trevor looks forward to continuing to care for the eyes of the Cowichan Valley and welcomes new patients without a referral. Dr. Miranda is available for appointments in our Duncan and Cobble Hill.
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