When you're tired (or possibly, maybe, just a little drunk), wiping off the day's makeup is probably the last thing that you want to do. Of course, we know that the health of your skin suffers if you opt to leave your primer, foundation, concealer, and other products on overnight. Makeup clogs pores — and ruins your sheets, too. But if you need further convincing that falling asleep in a full face is a very bad idea, take heed to the tale of Theresa Lynch.
As documented in a recent article published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the 50-year-old housekeeper, who lives in Sydney, Australia, failed to properly remove her mascara for 25 years. After seeking help from doctors, they discovered concretions underneath her eyelids, which caused massive discomfort and discharge. The tiny lesions, which contain buildup from cell debris and calcium, even eroded through her conjunctival surface... and could have blinded her permanently.
Lynch and her ophthalmic surgeon, Dana Robaei, decided to release gruesome images of her infected eye to spread awareness (and make you rethink your nightly routine).
"Every time Theresa was blinking, these bumps were rubbing on the surface of the eye and they pose a risk to her vision," Dr. Robaei told the Daily Mail. "If the scratch on the surface of the eye got infected, there is a risk this could be potentially blinding but that would be rare." And even though Dr. Robaei was able to remove the bumps during a 90-minute procedure, Lynch still isn't out of the woods. "It was certainly disabling," the doctor said. "She has suffered permanent scarring on her eyelid and the surface of her cornea. The symptoms are like somebody throwing a handful of sand in your eye — it's constantly irritating."
Optometrist Kambiz Silani, OD, tells us that putting eye makeup on your waterline puts you at further risk of developing serious eye conditions, so it's wise to steer clear of that delicate area as much as possible. And just in case you need a refresher, esthetician Renée Rouleau once walked us through the most effective way to clean your lashes: Saturate a thin cotton pad or toning cloth with your (ideally oil-free, as both Rouleau and Dr. Silani advise) makeup remover and gently press down on the eye, holding for 20 seconds. This melts and dissolves your eye makeup, so you won't have to rub; just swipe down to wipe everything off, then flip the pad and move upward to get underneath your lashes. Yes, it may cost you a few precious minutes of your beauty sleep — but ultimately, it might just save your vision.