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by AMY BAINBRIDGE
Optometrists are seeing an increasing number of patients suffering serious injuries such as chemical burns and infections as a result of the surging popularity of eyelash extensions.
A consumer group revealed shoddy lash jobs were causing infections, irritations and permanent lash loss in extreme cases.
Sydney woman Ellie Luff had her eyelashes fall out after a disastrous trip to a salon a few years ago.
“I assume it was the glue they’d used and my eyes went really red and sore, but then over the next couple of days my eyes scabbed up and then my eyelashes fell out,” she told the ABC. “I do have sensitive eyes, but that was just ridiculous. You’d never go back to anyone like that but it’s a shame that they can still keep working really.”
Last year, the UK College of Optometrists issued a warning that eyelash extensions carried the risk of infection and allergic reaction.
“Repeated use of eyelash extensions can cause traction alopecia, a condition where the hair falls out due to excessive tension placed on the hair shaft,” the warning said.
“As a result this can damage the hair follicle which can slow down and even cease production of hair.”
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Optometry Australia chief optometrist Luke Arundel said there had been increasing reports of serious injuries.
“We’ve had reports from optometrists around Australia with irritation, inflammation, allergic reactions, injuries from the tweezers themselves and more serious things like permanent loss of eyelashes,” he said.
“Initially there’s a change to vision if there is irritation. That is typically fairly short and not permanent. More concerning are reports from overseas of bacterial keratitis or ulcers that have been linked to these eyelash extensions.
“Eyelashes help protect the ocular surface from dust and other foreign bodies from getting onto the ocular surface. They’re our primary line of defence for foreign bodies getting to the eye.”
He said it was important that the glue used was pharmaceutical grade and did not contain formaldehyde.