Dr Susan Blakeney, clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, offers her top tips:
Get the basics right
Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before applying eye make-up or contact lenses. Avoid touching your eyes wherever possible.
Keep an eye on the expiry information
A survey of UK make-up users by the College of Optometrists found that more than half (53 per cent) don’t check the instructions to see how long they should keep their mascara for, with almost a fifth (19 per cent) admitting they didn’t even know that expiry information even existed on such products.
Have a look for this information, usually shown on the eye make-up packaging, and try not to use it beyond that period if possible. Throw it away immediately if it changes consistency or colour, or if you notice a strange smell coming from it.
Don’t apply on the go
Take your time over applying eye make-up, even if you're in a hurry. Although we often see people expertly applying their makeup on public transport, unfortunately optometrists see patients who have sustained a corneal abrasion or damaged their cornea (the clear, protective covering at the front of your eye) by accidentally poking themselves in the eye with a mascara wand during a sudden bump or jolt. This can be unpleasant and may leave your eye more vulnerable to infection because the surface is injured.
Keep it to yourself
You wouldn’t share your toothbrush with anyone else, yet many of us share our eye make-up with friends or family without thinking.
Make up and contact lenses
It’s best to put your contact lenses in before you put your make up on. Water-soluble - rather than waterproof – make-up is preferable as if it gets into your eye it will dissolve in your tears and not get trapped under your contact lens. You shouldn’t wear eyeliner on the ‘wet’ part of the edge of your eyelids, as it may block the glands that produce part of your tears. Instead, you should put it on the skin, outside your lashes.
Take it off
Ensure that all eye make-up is properly removed at the end of every day to minimise a build-up on your eyelid.
“By following these simple steps and paying a bit more attention to the health of your eyes and eyelids, you stand a better chance of spotting any problems as early as possible," says Dr Susan Blakeney. "If your eyes or eyelids start to feel itchy or sore, or if their appearance (without make-up) changes to look red, swollen or watery, avoid using make-up and go to see your optometrist.”
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