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Are My Cosmetics Making My Dry Eye Worse

Dry Eye Disease affects more than 5 million people in the United States, with 3.3 million being women and most of those being age 50 or over. And as people live longer, dry eye will continue to be a growing problem.

Although treatment options for dry eyes have improved recently, one of the most effective treatments is avoidance of dry eye triggers.

For some that might mean protecting your eyes from environmental triggers. To do that experts recommend using a humidifier in your home, especially if you have forced hot-air heat; wearing sunglasses when outside to help protect your eyes from the sun and wind that may make your tears evaporate faster; or being sure to direct any fans  - such as the air vents in your car - from blowing directly on your face. For others, it may mean avoiding medications that can cause dry eyes.

There is one other trigger that may need to be avoided that doesn’t get as much notice: The potentially harmful ingredients in cosmetics.

Cosmetics do not need to prove that they are “safe and effective” like drugs do. The FDA states that cosmetics are supposed to be tested for safety but there is no requirement that companies share their safety data with the FDA. There are also no specific definition requirements for labeling cosmetics as “hypoallergenic,” “dermatologist tested,” “ophthalmologist tested,” “sensitive formula” or the like, making most of those labels more marketing than science.

Things to watch out for in your cosmetics if you have dry eye include:

Preservatives are important to prevent the cosmetics from becoming contaminated but many are known to exacerbate dry eye. Common preservatives in cosmetics that could be adding to your dry eye problems (Periman and O’Dell, Ophthalmology Management August 2016) are: BAK (Benzalkonium chloride); Formaldehyde-donating (yes, Formaldehyde!) preservatives (often listed as DMDM-hydantoin, quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol); parabens; and Phenoxyethanol.  All of these preservatives in sufficient quantities can cause ocular irritation or inhibit the function of the Meibomian Glands that produce mucous that coats your tear film and keeps it from evaporating too quickly.

Alcohol is used in cosmetics mostly to speed the drying time but the alcohol can also dry the surface of the eye.

Waxes can block the opening of the Meibomian Glands along the eyelid margin. If these glands are blocked they will not be able to supply the mucous and lipids necessary to the tear film to prevent it from drying too quickly. If you have trouble with dry eye it would be advisable not to apply eye liner behind the eyelashes along the lid edge where the Meibomian gland openings are.

Anti-aging products
While these may be safe and effective for the skin of the face they should not be used around the eyes. Most of these products contain some form of Retin A. These products have been shown to be toxic to the Meibomian glands and could be contributing to your dry eyes.

These components of cosmetics do not adversely affect everyone. However, if you suffer from dry eye and are not effectively able to keep your eye comfortable and your vision clear, you should investigate your cosmetics as a potential contributor to your problem.

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

Read more: Are My Cosmetics Making My Dry Eye Worse

Thinking about contact lenses? Here are some important things to know

Are you thinking about starting to wear contact lenses or switching to a different type of contact?

Wearing contacts can make a big difference in the way you see things – such as sharper details and brighter colors. And technology has made contacts more comfortable than ever.

While we look forward to discussing contact lenses and working closely with you to find the right type of lens to meet your needs, here are some things for you to think about:

Reasons to consider contact lenses

  • Contact lenses move with your eye, allow a natural field of view, have no frames to obstruct your vision and greatly reduce distortions.
  • Unlike glasses, they do not fog up or get water spots.
  • Contact lenses are excellent for sports and other physical activities.
  • Many people feel they look better in contact lenses.
  • Compared to eyeglasses, contacts may offer better, more natural sight.

Some things to remember about contact lenses

  • Compared to glasses, contact lenses require a longer initial examination and more follow-up visits to maintain eye health. Lens care also requires more time.
  • If you are going to wear your lenses successfully, you will have to clean and store them properly, adhere to lens-wearing schedules and make appointments for follow-up care.
  • If you are wearing disposable or planned replacement lenses, you will have to carefully follow the schedule for disposing the used lenses and using new ones.

Contact lens types

There are two general types of contact lenses: hard and soft.

Rigid gas-permeable (RGP):

The hard lenses most commonly used today are rigid gas-permeable lenses (RGP). They are made of materials that are designed for their optical and comfort qualities. Hard lenses hold their shape, yet allow the free flow of oxygen through the lenses to the cornea of your eye. 

RGPs provide excellent vision, have a short initial adaptation period, and are easy to care for. RGPs are comfortable to wear, have a relatively long life, and correct most vision problems.

The disadvantages are that RGPs require consistent wear to maintain how comfortable they feel, and can occasionally slip off-center of the eye.

Soft contact lenses:

Soft lenses are the choice of most contact wearers. These lenses are comfortable and come in many versions, depending on how you want to wear them.

Disposable-wear lenses are removed nightly and replaced on a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis and are easy to get used to wearing.

Daily-wear contacts do not need to be cleaned and are great for active lifestyles but don't correct all vision problems and vision may not be as sharp as with RGP lenses. 

Extended-wear soft contacts can usually be worn up to seven days without removal. Be sure to ask us about extended-wear contacts and a possible greater risk of eye infections. 

Colored soft contacts change your eye color, the appearance of your eye, or both. They are available by prescription and should only be worn after an eye exam and fitting by an eye-care professional. Over-the-counter colored contacts are illegal in some states and pose a serious danger to your eye health.

Bifocal or multifocal

Bifocal or multifocal contact lenses are available in both soft and RPG varieties. They can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism in combination with presbyopia. Visual quality is often not as good as with single vision lenses; however, for some people the ability to correct presbyopia is worth it.

Contacts are a great fit for many patients but don't forget to be prepared

Carry a backup pair of glasses with a current prescription—just in case you have to take out your contacts. Contacts can make your eyes more light-sensitive, so don't forget to wear sunglasses with UV protection and a wide-brim hat when you’re in the sun.

Hygiene is the most critical aspect to successfully wearing contacts

When cared for properly, contact lenses can provide a comfortable and convenient way to work, play, and live the millions of people who wear them. While contact lenses are usually a safe and effective form of vision correction, they are not entirely risk-free. 

Contact lenses are medical devices, and failure to wear, clean, and store them as directed can increase the risk of eye infections. Not following your eye doctor’s directions raises the risk of developing serious infections. Your habits, supplies, and eye doctor are all essential to keeping your eyes healthy. 

We’re here to help

If you are interested in wearing contact lenses, we will provide you with a thorough eye examination and an evaluation of your suitability for contact lens wear. Contact us today for more information about contact lenses and to schedule a contact-fitting exam. We’ll discuss the best options for your visual and lifestyle needs.


This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

Read more: Thinking about contact lenses? Here are some important things to know

Latest News

Posted: 5October2018

You Never Know!!!   Recently a patient came in for a routine vision exam to get the glasses prescription checked because of peripheral blurriness and headaches. Everything about the exam was routine until I examined the back of the eyes, the optic nerve and retina. I found swollen optic nerve heads in both eyes (papilledema) indicating elevated intracranial pressure. The patient was immediately referred out to neurology for evaluation and treatment because of the seriousness of the condition. A brain tumor was found on imaging. That's why its important to get routine annual exams because you never know if there may be something serious going on. 

Is it a good time to get your eyes examined?: Eyes red or itchy? Vision blurry reading or on the computer or watching TV or driving? Vision goes in and out? Headaches with glasses on or while reading? Eyes get red or dry with contact lenses on? Tearing? Smoker? Diabetic? High Blood Pressure? Glaucoma? Cataracts? Macula Degeneration? Haven't seen an eye doctor in years? Kids never have had an eye exam or its been more than a year since their last eye exam? If you have any of these issues or others, It may be time to come in to get your eyes examined! Don't keep putting it off, make an appointment now, call 702-734-9600.

Eye Exams for Children Are Important!  Kids have no idea if they are seeing clearly or not because if their vision is blurry how would they know what clear vision is like. Also 80% of learning is visual, which is why clear vision is so critical for everyone, especially our children. Signs of vision problems include squinting to see things far away, sitting close to a TV or computer screen, avoidance of reading, headaches while reading, frequent eye rubbing or blinking, developmental delays, failure to maintain eye contact, poor tracking skills or coordination problems in sports such as hand eye coordination.

Eye Exams for Adults Are Important!  Frequently I see adults who haven't had an eye exam in years because they feel they can see fine. That may be true but it doesn't mean your eyes are healthy. It's not uncommon to find gluacoma (causes blindness, no symptoms until it's too late), early cataracts, keratoconus (corneal thinning/ectasia), corneal dystrophy's or degeneration, early macular degeneration, peripheral retinal degeneration, retinal holes or tears, diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy or even an occassional tumor during routine eye exams. That's why it's important to get an eye exam every year to make sure nothing exciting is going on.

Why Dilate Eyes?  The reason eye doctors dilate eyes is to get a better view of the retina and optic nerve to evaluate your eyes for eye disease. Trying to see through an undilated pupil is like looking thru a keyhole into a room as opposed to a dilated pupil, which is like looking through an open door to a room. A dilated pupil makes it much easier to see, find and evaluate problems in the retina or optic nerve. 

Diabetics!!!!!  If you're a diabetic, have you had your annual eye exam with a dilation to evaluate for diabetic retinopathy (bleeding in the retina)?  Diabetics should have an eye exam every year or sooner depending on how well controlled their diabetes is and if they have diabetic retinopathy. Diabetics must stay on top of the disease constantly by taking their medications, following their diet and exercising every day (walking if possible 20-30 minutes) if they want to be successful at managing the disease.

High Blood Pressure!!!!!  High blood pressure is a silent killer because it can cause a sudden stroke in the brain, heart attack or blockage of veins or arteries in the retina of the eye leading vision loss. If you have high blood pressure, it makes sense to come in for an annual eye exam to evaluate for signs of hypertensive retinopathy and to check your blood pressure.

Caesars Entertainment:  Effective January 1, 2017 Caesars Entertainment will be accessing the Sierra Health-Care Options and Northern Nevada Health Networks for their self-funded plan employees and dependents.

BlephEx: A patented hand instrument, used to very precisely and carefully, spin a medical grade micro-sponge along the edge of your eyelids and lashes, removing scurf and debris and exfoliating your eyelids. This treatment is great for patients with blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction.  For more information, please feel free to contact us.

Have keratoconus or intolerable to regular contact lenses?  Drs. Wong and Williamson have a large selection of Scleral Lenses for the successful management of ocular conditions such as keratoconus, keratoglobus, dry eyes just to name a few conditions. Scleral contact lenses aren't just for irregular corneas, they can also be worned by individuals who require a rigid gas permeable lens but would like to experience more comfort. Our office has available for the following fitting sets to enhance your fitting experience:  Accu Lens Maxim Scleral lens, Alden Zen Lens, Contamac AVT RC Scleral, Custom Craft Scleral, Essilor Jupiter Scleral, Essilor Perimeter Lens, GP Specialist I Sight Scleral, Irregular Corneal Design (I.C.D.) Scleral, XCel Atlantis Scleral, For patients who prefer a smaller diameter corneal lens, we now offer the Rose K2 rigid gas permeable lens. For normal corneas, we have scleral lenses for you too!  Available are the Accu Lens Maxim Comfort SL Scleral Lens and Blanchard Onefit 2.0 Scleral.  Our Medmont Topographer will also ensure proper fitting of these types of lenses on you.

In addition to the Scleral lenses and Standard Rigid Lenses for keratoconus, we also offer a soft lens, NovaKone or a hybrid lens (combination ridgid lens with a soft lens skirt.

Blue Light Blocking Lenses:  Digital eye strain and exposure to the damaging blue light spectrum (400-500nm wavelength) and high energy visible light (430nm +/- 20nm) is an issue for most people because of digital devices such as cell phones, smart phones, e-readers, tablet computers and all other computers. These devices emit blue light that can cause damage to the retina in addition to blue light exposure from being outside in sunlight. Most people are aware of UV exposure and the damage it can do to your eyes and skin but most are not aware that blue light can reach the retina in the back of the eye and cause tissue damage (macular degeneration) over time. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss for people over age 50. Blue light exposure at night also suppresses melatonin which can lead to sleep loss. There are 3 solutions to block blue light; protective coatings for indoor use and protective lenses for indoor or outdoor use. Ask you eye doctor about them.

Want colored lenses but was previously told you couldn't be fit?  In addition to all the standard color lenses available at most offices, our office now has the ability to allow our patients to create their own color lenses. Whether you're nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism, no worries....we can now customize a lens just for you with Bio Colors.  

Advance Your Game with our new Bio SPORT Lenses!  These lenses can serve to block or heighten the various spectrum of light to enhance you indoor or outdoor sports activity. Let us fit you today!

Our Spot PediaVision:  Do you have a child that can't sit still for a vision test? Our office has a vision screening tool which can be used for non responsive children or adults who can't sit still. This is an objective test which will allow us to give you an assessment as to whether or not there is a concern that needs to be addressed.

Myopia Progression a Concern?: Want to slow down progression of your nearsightedness (myopia) or your child's?  Multifocal contact lenses or Corneal Refractive Therapy are available options Drs. Wong and Williamson can discuss with you . Call us at 702-734-9600 to make an appointment for an eye exam!


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