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Bulgarian Review of Ophthalmology

Eyelash extensions—the hidden threat

Mladena Radeva



The application of eyelash extensions for aesthetic reasons is a popular procedure. The method involves attaching synthetic fibers to natural eyelashes using a binding substance (glue). This procedure, however, can cause various eye disorders, most commonly keratoconjunctivitis and allergic blepharitis.


The purpose of the study is to collect information about the use of eyelash extensions for aesthetic purposes on the territory of Bulgaria and determine the characteristics of the methods of application, the period of replacement, as well as the related potential risks to eye health.

Materials and Methods:

The survey was conducted through an online platform. Detailed anonymous questionnaires about the use of eyelash extensions and the health problems associated with this manipulation were distributed with the help of social media among women of different ages.


Оne hundred and forty-five questionnaires were received, of which 140 were correctly filled out and included in the survey. All the participants were women and from different parts of Bulgaria. Of them, 37.9% were aged 20 to 25, 32.9% between 26–30, 10.7% under 20 years of age, and none of the participants exceeded 60 years of age. It was not surprising that the majority of respondents (53.6%) indicated that the replacement period was between 2 and 3 weeks. What was interesting, however, was the observation regarding the adhesives that the participants used to attach the false eyelashes—as many as 78.6% reported that they did not know what glue was applied to their eyelashes. Regarding the type of extensions, the fact that 63.6% indicated the use of eyelashes with natural hair was of particular interest, although a market analysis shows that products of this type are rare within the borders of Bulgaria. Over half of the participants reported that they experienced irritation and burning during the application of the eyelashes, and 60% reported discomfort related to the already applied eyelashes. Eighteen percent reported experiencing an allergic reaction and/or pruritus associated with the eyelash application, and 15% experienced eye inflammation (conjunctivitis, blepharitis) after the eyelash application. Nearly 65% reported seeing thinning and discoloration of their natural lashes after removing the false ones. It was interesting to observe that 15% resorted a visit to an eye doctor because of a problem related to the applied eyelashes, the reasons being mainly related to local irritation, allergy and/or inflammation. The most common subjective complaints included redness, irritation, dryness, tearing, swelling, inflammatory discharge, and even acute pain. However, 62.5% of those who completed the survey would continue to use false eyelashes.


Due to the growing popularity of cosmetic procedures related to the placement of false eyelashes, it is important to educate the public and medical professionals about the potential risks, complications, and adverse effects that they entail.


artificial eyelashes, eyelash extensions, blepharitis, eye inflammation

Full Text


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About The Author

Mladena Radeva
Medical University of Varna

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Specialized Eye Hospital, Varna