If you’ve ever fallen asleep before removing all your makeup, this story is about to scare you into always taking the time to wash your face before hitting your pillow. Specifically, a now-viral medical case is serving as a reminder to fully remove your mascara each night.
According to reports, a 50-year-old woman in Sydney, Australia named Theresa Lynch went to the doctor with complaints about a “gritty sensation in both eyes,” as well as discharge. Her ophthalmologist found something extremely unexpected: hardened black spots on the inside of Lynch’s eyelids, highly visible to the naked eye.
Ophthalmologist Dana Robaei reported that Lynch had “admitted to more than 25 years of heavy mascara use on her lashes with inadequate removal.” The last 25 years of not removing her mascara before bed had caused little bits of the makeup to accumulate in her eyes (specifically in the conjunctiva) and had eventually turned into “solidified concretions.” Doctors said her eyelids also contained pigmented macrophages, a type of immune cell, which indicates this had become a form of chronic inflammation. Some of the pieces were so hard that they were actually poking through the conjunctiva and scratching her corneas.
In the end, it took doctors 90 minutes to surgically remove all of the pieces of hardened mascara from Lynch’s eyes, and she will have permanent scarring on both her eyelid and cornea. Lynch is now warning others of her condition in order to spread the word about proper makeup removal. She said, “I should never have let it get this far.”
While the brand name of the mascara hasn’t been revealed, it’s worth pointing out that some lengthening brands contain small amounts of synthetic fibers, which have a greater chance of going into your eyes. Even so, don’t feel like you have to avoid these mascaras. Doctors simply recommend adequately removing your eye makeup each night, and replacing your mascara every three months.