Categories: ConditionsHelpful Tips

Poor Mascara Removal Leads to Eye Lesions and Serious Infection

Clumpy Mascara final

For over 25 years, a woman admitted to using excessive mascara each day without completely removing it at night before she slept. Complaining of feelings that something was in her eye, the 50-year-old sought help from her ophthalmologist. After a thorough eye exam, the ophthalmologist discovered dark pigmented depositions on the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane lining the inside of the eyelid. In addition, the ophthalmologist noted eye lesions or sub-conjunctival concretions. Following a biopsy of the conjunctiva, results of which were published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology, physicians found deposits of mascara as well as evidence of conjunctivitis or infection.
“It is important to ensure you wash your hands and clean around your eyes regularly to prevent infections from occurring. Having treated cases like this often, infections can lead to very serious consequences and in some cases even vision loss,” says Charles Flowers, MD, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at USC Roski Eye Institute and cornea specialist.

Tips to Preventing Eye Infections

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes or face
  • Do not share your makeup, face towels, or any eye drops
  • Remove your makeup thoroughly before bed and do not reuse make up if you have had an eye infection to prevent it from reoccurring
  • Thoroughly clean your contact lenses, store in clean containers, and use fresh solutions without sharing
  • Wear protective eyewear outdoors or in a workplace where there may be hazards
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you notice symptoms of a suspected eye infection
  • Always use protection to prevent STI

Infections of the Eye

Infections of the eye can occur in one or both eyes and in individuals of all ages. Typically, those who have ocular infections may describe redness, irritation, discharge, swelling around the eyelid and eye, pain and possible loss in vision.

Schedule an Appointment at USC Roski Eye Institute TodayEye infections can be viral, bacterial or even fungal. Please see your eye care specialist if you suspect that you may have an infection, are experiencing irritation or pain in your eye. The exceptional eye doctors at USC Roski Eye Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!To learn more about the health services at the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute with a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.
By: Debbie Mitra, PhD

Area of Inflammation

Conjunctivitis Surface of the eye
Blepharitis Eyelid
Keratitis Cornea, the transparent outermost part of the eye
Uveitis Uvea, the inner layer of the eye
Vitritis “Jelly-like” ocular fluid in the eye
Neuroretinitis Optic nerve and retina
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