Woman Who Slept in Her Mascara Every Night For 25 Years Has To Have Emergency Surgery

After a long night out or a tough day at work it can be tempting to crash into bed with a full face of makeup on. But the case of a woman who underwent surgery to remove calcified lumps of mascara from her eyelids is a stark reminder that being careless can pose a serious risk to your health.

Theresa Lynch visited her doctor because she constantly felt as if something was in her eye.

As the doctor questioned Lynch about her eye health, she admitted that she had used mascara heavily on her eyelashes for more than 25 years without removing it properly, according to a case study published in the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Doctors were forced to operate on the 50-year-old to remove a number of calcified lumps from beneath her eyelid, she told the Daily Mail Australia.

Lynch, who was originally from Maryland but now lives in Australia, told the news website: "I had fallen into a bad habit of wearing a lot of makeup and not washing it off. I should never have let it get this far."

A woman complained of the sensation of something being in her eye after not removing her mascara properly. Getty Images

By flipping up her eyelid, an ophthalmologist revealed a series of black dots called subconjunctival concretions and found the clear, thin membrane which covers the inside of the eyelids and the eye had eroded slightly. Lynch was also suffering from a chronic infection called follicular conjunctivitis.

Dr. Dana Robaei, the author of the case report and consultant ophthalmologist at Forest Eye Surgery near Sydney, Australia, said her patient risked going blind if the scratch on the surface had become infected, although that would have been unlikely. However, Lynch has suffered permanent scarring to her eyelid and the surface of her cornea.

A woman underwent surgery after mascara deposited under her eyelid. American Academy of Opthamology

Professor John Dart, of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology told Newsweek this is the first known case of mascara causing such serious inflammation in the eye.

"Mascara, like many cosmetics, contains a lot of components, many of which are potentially toxic: Carbon black or iron oxide pigment to darken lashes; a polymer to form a film that coats lashes; a preservative; and thickening waxes or oils such as lanolin, mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, castor oil, carnauba wax, and candelilla wax," he explained.

It was "surprising" there are so few reported cases of complications caused by mascara use, said Dart.

"Mascara may harbor bacteria, and unpleasant and potentially serious eye infections have been reported. It is probably not a good idea to keep mascara for a long time after opening or to share the use with others given the small risk of infection," he said.

However, sleeping with makeup on for one night is unlikely to damage the eye, he said, and those worried should take a "common sense" approach to removing their makeup.