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The information included in this page is intended to be a helpful guide to wearers of all types of contact lenses.
Whether you wear soft (Hydrophilic), RGP (Rigid Gas Permeable), hard, or any type of contact lenses, most of this information
 will apply to you. 
No advertisement is contemplated by this information and no recommendation is intended.


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Now that glasses are banished in the drawer and contact lenses in the eyes, you become particularly susceptible to eye irritation from the improper use of cosmetics. Practitioners are seeing more contact lenses damaged, and surface coatings than ever. Torn away corneas, lid swelling, burning, itching, tearing, and infection are everyday practice in eye care professionals' offices. Despite the warnings, many practitioners still overlook cosmetics as part of these problems.
Probably, we don't pay more attention to the improper use of cosmetics because we don't find information about the subject. There are over 30,000 reported cases of cosmetic-related allergies yearly, and over a million cases that goes unreported. Cosmetics contain thousands of ingredients, many of which are harmless when used properly. Still and all, they also contain additives, solvents, oils, and other ingredients that can cause serious problems to the eye and the contact lens. We need to take the time to find out what cosmetic products contain and their proper use.
The FDA strongly urges cosmetic manufacturers to conduct toxicological tests to verify their product's safety. If the safety of a cosmetic is not up to a minimal standard, the product may be considered misbranded and subject to regulatory action. Since 1977, all U.S. cosmetic manufacturers have been required to list their product's ingredients on the package. However, federal regulations require that a product list only a single scent, even though the fragrance may consist of several ingredients. In the late part of the same year, several articles were published by scientists at Emory University School of Medicine referring to several areas of concern in FDA-funded cosmetic microbial and fungal contamination studies.
Manufacturers state that the products should remain safe throughout its normal life span, and most products do remain microbiologically clean under normal conditions. However, according to the Cosmetic Handbook, "the hazard of inadequately preserved cosmetics to human health has been amply demonstrated by reports of staphylococcal infections in hospitals (from use of contaminated hand cream and hand lotions) and in studies conducted on eye area cosmetics."

Take notes and be aware
Never share or barrow cosmetics.
Use disposable applicators when applying makeup every time you can.
Attempt to use hypoallergenic products. (Unscented does not mean fragrance-free)
If your eyes look irritated or red, do not use any makeup. (Better safe than sorry.)
If you develop an eye infection, replace your makeup. (specially mascara.)
Replace all eye makeup every ninety days. (Look for makeup with expiration day, if possible)
Read labels. Read labels. Read labels.
Don't apply makeup in a moving vehicle (even if somebody else is driving).

Can I hurt my eyes with cosmetics?
Yes. Although most cosmetic use is entirely safe, some cosmetics can cause red, irritated eyes and eyelids. They can produce stinging, burning, itching and tearing. Also, there are cosmetics with ingredients that can damage contact lenses. And some cosmetics, including some "hypoallergenic" ones, can cause allergic reactions or irritation in sensitive people. Accidents in applying makeup, particularly mascara, have caused serious eye infections and injury. People with dry eyes or oily lids have an increased risk of cosmetics related eye problems.
The application and removal of cosmetic products can also cause the transmission of microorganisms and lens damage. Most Women wearing flexible wear or disposable lenses are applying and removing their makeup with contact lenses in their eyes. Some prefer waterproof mascara because they remain on the eyelashes longer and do not smear as readily. This can be terribly harmful if some of that waterproof Mascara finds a way into the tear film.
The preferred mascara is a water-soluble formulation with no fibers, and easily removed with a non-oil remover baby shampoo. Also, mascara should be applied away from the lash follicle.
Hypoallergenic Cosmetics. Are they Safer for my Eyes?
The term "hypoallergenic" has caused a lot of confusion. It should mean that the product has been proven to be less irritating than other products and contains no substances known to be severe allergens.
According to a 1977 pamphlet published by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, entitled "We Want You To Know About Cosmetics: ", the U.S. court of appeals for the district of Columbia ruled that the FDA's regulation defining hypoallergenic was invalid. This means that there is now no regulation specifically defining the use of hypoallergenic or similar terms. In addition, the basic ingredients in hypoallergenic cosmetics usually are the same as those used in other cosmetics sold for the same purposes.
As it is generally use, hypoallergenic cosmetics are non-irritating rather than non-allergy products. In addition, what produces irritation or allergy in one person may not produce it in another. Despite this, hypoallergenic products are generally preferred to products that aren't hypoallergenic.
What about "natural", "Dermatology tested", "allergy-tested", or "new and improved"?
An example of intentionally deceptive terminology used in labeling are the words "natural" and "organic," which tell the you nothing about whether the product will irritate the skin or provoke an allergic reaction. Many "natural" ingredients, such as cocoa butter, are allergens omitted from "hypoallergenic" brands of cosmetics. According to the FDA, an "allergy-tested" cosmetic is one that has been tested to see if it could cause an allergic reaction. However, it does not indicated who did the testing, what subject (rabbits, mice, people), or even if the cosmetic passed the test. "Dermatology tested" means that the cosmetic was give out in samples to dermatologists for use by their patients, instructed to report any adverse reactions back to their doctors. There are no guidelines regarding the grounds or scope of testing, let alone the results.
Take a look and learn to use it
Any eye makeup (or eye makeup remover) that you use should be oil-free, Fragrance-free, hypoallergenic.
Mascara: To make the eyelashes look fuller, many mascaras contain rayon or nylon fibers. As the fibers dry out on your lashes, they can flake off and fall into the eye. If a contact lens wearer uses heavy mascara and the contact lenses are not completely cleaned off after wearing, the lenses can become damaged to the point where they must be replaced. Use a water-based mascara that is oil and fragrance-free. Try to find one that is fiber-free, and apply it to the tips of the lashes only. Be careful when applying mascara. Damage to the eye from mascara's wands and brushes can lead to serious infections.
Eyeliner: When applying eyeliner use only a non-wood clenched pencil. Use water-based eyeliner. Never apply eyeliner inside the lid margin . Eyeliner can also be an irritant. If not properly used, the orifices of the meibomian glands (Oil glands within eye lid tissue) may become obstructed, leading to irritation and/or lid infection. 
Remember to replace The eyeliner at least every ninety days.
Eye shadow: Avoid frosted shadows. Do not use excessive amounts of shadow, which may flake off the lid into the eye. Use pressed powders only.
False eyelashes: Elude at all the times. their adhesive (glue) is difficult to remove, can irritate the eye and destroy contact lenses.
Eye makeup removers: Take off your contact lenses before removing your makeup.
Choose only oil-free and fragrance-free removers. Use a fiber-free pad to take off makeup. (A cotton ball has fibers that can get into the eye and cause irritation.) Use water and additive-free soap for makeup removal.
If you use, extended wear contact lenses and must remove makeup with the lenses in place, wipe very gently from the nose outward, being careful not to dislodge the contact lens. Try to keep debris from makeup out of your eye. If any gets in and the eye becomes irritated, remove the lens. Be sure to clean and disinfect the lens before putting it back on your eye.
Cosmetics and lotions
Good contact lens hygiene requires that you take some care with all soaps and lotions, Here are a few suggestions to help keep your contact lens wear trouble free.
Soaps: Before handling contact lenses, always wash your hands with an additive free soap. Try to use a pure soap. Avoid soaps that have moisturizers or antibacterial agents. Most liquid "pump" soaps have lanolin to make them flow freely, it can damage your contact lenses. Bar soap or optical soap is preferred. After washing your hands, dry them thoroughly with a lint-free towel.
Lotions: Use hand lotion only after putting on your contact lenses. If possible, choose lanolin-free and fragrance-free products. Many lotions-especially the "intensive care" kind-leave a residue on your hands even after washing. Avoid these lotions. Take special care when applying moisturizers, especially on and around the eyelids. Use lanolin-free products. Extended wear lens users should take particular care to see that moisturizers don't get into the eye or onto the edges of the lids.
Nail polish and remover: Put on your contact lenses before using nail care products. Put on your contact lenses before using nail
 care products. Put on your contact lenses before using nail care products. Try to stay away from products that contain Acetone. Acetone, a common ingredient in nail care products, can destroy contact lenses. Also, many ingredients in nail care products cannot be removed by simply washing the hands.
Hair care products: Avoid using any product that contains coal tar. (Coal tar is harmful to the eyes.)
Aerosol hair sprays can damage contact lenses. Try to avoid the pump, mousse, or gel product. If hairspray is used, a pump spray is better than an aerosol can. Keep your eyes closed until the mist clears. If any hairspray gets in your eye while using contact lenses, immediately remove the lenses. Clean, rinse and disinfect the lens and putt them back on your eye. Be advised not to wear contact lenses to the beauty salon, the presence of hair spray and chemicals for hair dyes, permanents, or other preparations could cause contamination as well as severe eye irritation. This applies to home permanents and dyes as well.
Shampoo and condition your hair either before putting on your lenses or after taking them off. Be sure to wash your hands to get rid of any conditioner. Extended wear lens users should keep their eyes shut while washing and conditioning their hair.
Face products for men: Keep shaving cream, after-shave and cologne out of the eyes and your hands. These products contain alcohol and can cause severe stinging to your eyes and destroy contact lenses. Be sure, after shaving, to wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses.
Protect your eye from infections
Once cosmetics are opened they can become contaminated with bacteria. Eye makeup, particularly mascara, is one of the highest contaminated. Eye injuries from contaminated mascara brushes have led to serious infections that caused people to lose sight. Remember most of the eye makeup in your collection does not have expiration day. Check them up! Preservatives in makeup don't last forever, and you don't know how long a it was sitting on the shelf before you bought it. Store makeup in a cool dry place, and replace open makeup every ninety days.
Their is some manufactures with 20/20 vision
Fortunately, some major manufactures are taking note of the interest generated by consumer and some products have come out specially designed for contact lens wearers and appear safe on specific testing.
Yes, look for "Specially for contact lens wearers". It is out there and in many brands.
Women want to wear contacts without giving up cosmetics. With the availability of quality and specially formulated products there is no reason why you should not be proper educated on the availability and use of the cosmetics products. The time and expense that you have trying to solve red itchy eye or coated contact lens might be better spent in educating yourself on preventing these problems.

For More Information Contact:
Lens Consultants, Inc.
FAX: (786) 289-0381
E-Mail to: info@lensconsultants.com


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