You can cause permanent damage to your eyes by not removing make up

You can cause permanent damage to your eyes by not removing make up

Revealed: How failing to take your make-up off after festive parties can cause PERMANENT damage to your eyes – including corneal abrasion and broken lashes

  • Brits risk causing permanent damage to eyes by not removing make-up
  • Clinical Services Director at Optical Express has revealed dangers of being lazy 
  • Damage includes eye infections, corneal abrasion and erosion eyelash damage
  • Wipes do not remove all make up, you should then follow up with soap and water 

When you get home late from a festive party, all you want to do is fall into bed and the temptation not to bother taking off your make-up is strong.

But health experts have warned that those who do not remove their make up properly before jumping into bed, are at risk of causing permanent damage to their eyes.  

‘Make-up can be extremely harmful to eyes if not removed properly – and even more so when not removed at all,’ said Stephen Hannan, Clinical Services Director at Optical Express.

Here he reveals the conditions you could be at risk of, and how to make sure you remove every trace to avoid problems.  

We’re all guilty of jumping into bed without removing our make up first, but health experts have warned this could cause permanent damage to our eyes


We’re all guilty of rolling into bed after a boozy night out, without giving a second thought to our skin, 

But failure to remove make up products, such as mascara and eyeliner, can lead to painful eye infections. In the worst cases, it can even lead to permanent damage.

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This is because as we get our beauty sleep, make up can end up inside the eye, which in turn clogs both the hair follicles and oil glands on your eyelid margins. 

Creating a breeding ground for bacteria, your eye may become inflamed or infected. 

The main infection caused by not removing make up is conjunctivitis, a condition that leaves you with red eyes that are painful to touch and extremely itchy.

Experts advise that make-up wipes do not remove make up in its entirety, instead you should then wash your face with soap and water (stock image). They also recommend using flat cotton pads rather than balls – as the latter may get attached to your eyelashes and cause infection (stock image)

Top tips to removing your make-up

1. Use soap and water

The most popular option is a make up wipe and nothing else, but the problem is that this still leaves a residue of make-up. While wipes are beneficial for the initial removal, soap and water should then be used. Not only is this softer on the eyes, but it also ensures make up is removed properly.

2. Use flat cotton pads rather than balls

More often than not, cotton balls may break down whilst in use, meaning some particles may get attached to your eyelashes. Over a long period, this can cause irritation and infection. In comparison, pads are woven so they don’t shed.

3. Take your time

You should give the remover on the pads enough time to soak in to the make-up before it starts its job. Allowing the products to soften will mean you can gently wipe your eyes, rather than having to rub them – which could cause make-up to get under the eye-lid, causing damage and infection.


If make-up finds its way into your eyes during the night, the product may rub off on the conjunctival or corneal surface. If this remains over a period of time, it may result in erosion and scratching to the surface.

Left untreated, long-term effects can be extremely detrimental to your eye health.


Pushing the imperceptible effects aside, sleeping in mascara can also cause possible visual damage. 

Leaving mascara on your lashes for too long can cause them to become weak and fall out. 

As a result, broken lashes may scratch your cornea while you’re trying to get some shut-eye. 

Eyelashes have multiple purposes – not only do they protect our eyes from the likes of dust particles, they also shield our eyes from the sun and keep moisture out of our eyes.

‘Christmas is a time of year filled with celebrations so it’s common for people to have their normal daily routine mixed up,’ explained eye health expert, Stephen Hannan. 

‘An important task such as removing your make-up before bed can often get overlooked – but eye health is more sensitive than people realise and the risks of not removing your make-up are very serious.’

He added: ‘This simple act can prevent so many damaging effects, so this festive period, make sure you’re make-up safe.’ 

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