Seconds after getting eyelash extensions, Megan lost her sight for two hours. 

Megan Rixson isn’t an eyelash extension novice.

From the images on her Twitter account, getting a full set of lash extensions is a part of the 20-year-old’s beauty routine. So when the UK student decided to book her eyelash extension appointment at a new (to her) salon instead of her regular place earlier this month, she wasn’t worried.

Unfortunately, she should have been.

Within seconds of having the first of hundreds of single synthetic lashes applied to her lash line, Rixson said her eye began to sting.

“Girls be very very careful where you get your eyelashes done!! I got my individuals done today somewhere new and it turns out they used nail glue on my lashes. I genuinely lost my sight for 2 hours,” she captioned a video of herself post-treatment on Twitter.

“Thankfully the swelling has gone down, but there [sic] still very sore. Be careful.”

The video footage shows Rixson’s eyes with obvious lash extensions, swollen and watery. We can only imagine what her eyes looked like when she visited a walk-in medical clinic two hours after the initial treatment.

“When she was doing the first one my eyes were stinging lots. But she said, don’t worry, it’s normal, and told me to hold my eye open,” Rixson told Buzzfeed News last week.

“It was burning so much my eyes were naturally closing, but she kept telling me to hold them open. After she was done, I sat up on the bed and couldn’t open them. I said, this isn’t normal, but she kept saying it was.”

Thankfully, she said her vision is returning to normal, but both eyes are “still very sensitive”.


Rixson’s eyelash extension experience isn’t uncommon.

According to Lady Lash director Charlotte Creasey, their NSW salons see at least one client a week in need of help due to botched eyelash extensions.

“We do fix a lot that have gone wrong… we used to see them a lot more frequently, but at least once a week someone will come in and we’ll have to remove the lashes,” Creasy told Mamamia.

“The main thing that goes wrong with lash extensions is when the lashes aren’t separated properly and are applied with a lot of glue – sometimes directly onto the lid – or by using a quick method.  They basically become like a concreted band across the eyelid and the lashes underneath become very damaged, red, irritated, and you can get eye infections because the [lash] follicles are blocked.”

Medically speaking, ophthalmologist and Head of Eye Innovation at The University of Sydney’s Save Sight Institute Professor Stephanie Watson has seen many cases of patients presenting with corneal damage or eye infections after having eye lash extensions applied.

“There’s things that can happen when they’re applied, and also once they’re there. When [the lashes] are applied, they’re stuck on with a form of glue and that glue can cause irritation if it gets into the eye, and it can also cause ulcers on the cornea,” Professor Watson told Mamamia.

“The cornea is the eye’s window. If that happens, it’s very painful as the cornea has 300 times more sensation than skin. You’d only have to open their eye at the wrong time for the glue to reach the cornea – the glue is applied at the base of the eyelashes, so you’re only talking a couple of millimetres between the base of the eyelashes and the cornea.”

Worried about eyelash extensions? We asked a makeup artist to show us how to apply single-use false lashes perfectly instead. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

She also explained chronic irritation caused by the lash extensions can result in eye infections, some of which can threaten your sight permanently.


“After treatment, lashes can exacerbate symptoms for people who have uncomfortable, dry eyes. The other thing is they do harbour bacteria, so I’ve seen patients that have gotten an infection on their cornea.”

“Like a normal window, it can be clear, or frosted when you can’t see what’s on the other side. Scarring on the cornea is like looking through a frosted window. Often the damage may not be reversible. If you get an infection, treatment involves special eye drops day and night every hour, for days, sometimes weeks,” Professor Watson explained.

Unlike lash tinting, where the dye comes into contact with your skin, Creasey said it’s not common to experience stinging when getting lash extensions applied because the glue shouldn’t be applied directly onto the skin.

“Eyelash extension glues are cyanoacrylate-based, it’s a quick and hard setting glue like a liquid plastic similar to glue used in surgical stitching. It’s different to glues that are designed to be removed after a temporary period of time… I’ve seen it before where I’m pretty sure someone has just painted the glue on [someone’s eyes] and stuck the lashes to it,” she said.

“Each individual lash extension is dipped into a very small amount of this glue and placed on a single isolated lash about one millimetre from the skin. If someone is experiencing stinging, we would be extremely cautious and might not continue with the treatment.”

If you’re looking for a reputable salon or eyelash extension technician, Creasy said to be wary of anyone offering cheap, quick sets of lashes.

“Quick, cheap sets aren’t usually going to be very good sets. I’ve been doing lashes for ten years and for a good set of 70 to 100 plus lashes, you’d be wanting it to take at least an hour top apply. Some offer 30-45 minute sets… I don’t think it’s possible [to do a full set in that time],” she said.

“There also needs to be time for the technician to clean the lashes prior, sterilise your tools and all those sorts of things. Very quick sets are not a good idea. Lash extensions are not the thing you want to be scrimping on.”

Professor Watson added: “For my patients that have dry eyes or eye irritation who want eyelash extensions, I’ll often suggest something like tinting because the foreign body [the tint] is only on the lashes for a short period of time.”

“It’s all about weighing up the risks versus the personal benefits.”

Have you ever had a bad eyelash extension experience? Tell us in the comments.

P.S. Mamamia’s beauty guru Leigh Campbell gave us all the information about eyelash serums on the latest episode of You Beauty, get it in your ears below.