Your patients who routinely use eyeliner may run the risk of developing tear film instability and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a study in Cornea suggests.

Researchers from Thailand enrolled 42 healthy females between the ages of 18 and 40 who had no dry eye symptoms. The study divided the patients into two groups: the first included participants who regularly used eyeliner three or more days a week continuously for at least six months. The second group did not wear eyeliner.

Following a questionnaire, the patients underwent several tests, including conjunctival inflammation grading, fluorescein tear break-up time, ocular surface fluorescein staining, Schirmer I, meibomian gland function evaluation, detection of eyelid margin abnormalities and Demodex detection.

The study found tear break-up time was significantly lower in patients who used eyeliner compared with the controls (3.0±1.9 vs. 5.8±2.1 seconds, respectively). Additionally, meibomian gland grading was notably higher in the eyeliner group, with a higher grade (two-three) reported in 85.7% of patients who wore eyeliner compared with just 47.6% in the controls. The meiboscore was also higher in the eyeliner group.

Looking at morphological changes for the lid margin, the study found only telangiectasia was significantly higher in the eyeliner group (28.6%) compared with the controls (4.8%).

The researchers also found conjunctival inflammation was four times greater in the women who wore eyeliner (66.7%) compared with those who didn’t (14.3%).

However, ocular surface symptoms, fluorescein staining scores, Schirmer I and Demodex detection were about the same in both groups. 

Prabhasawat P, Chirapapaisan C, Chitkornkijsin C, et al. Eyeliner induces tear film instability and meibomian gland dysfunction. Cornea. November 8, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].