OHSU

Safety for Contact Lens Wearers

Using Cosmetics When You Wear Contacts

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eye makeup is one of the most common sources of problems for contact lens wearers. Using makeup incorrectly can lead to severe adverse reactions, including:

  • Deposits on the lens
  • Eye irritation
  • Allergies
  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Dryness

Wearing Eye Makeup Safely

There are safety measures for choosing, applying and wearing cosmetics. Follow these to protect your eyes and provide for long-term, problem-free contact lens use.

  • Choose non-scented, hypoallergenic cosmetics manufactured by a well-known brand name that you trust.
  • Wash and dry your hands before applying or removing your contact lenses.
  • Don't share your eye cosmetics or your contacts with others.
  • Wash all makeup application brushes frequently.
  • Apply makeup after inserting contact lenses.
  • Don't use your old applicator in new mascara containers.
  • Avoid frosted, pearlized, iridescent or other glittery types of eyeshadow, which may contain ground oyster shells or tinsel.
  • Don't wear eyeliner at the inner edge of the eyelid or above the lash line on the lower lid.
  • Avoid loose powder on the face.
  • Don't apply creams too close to your eyes.
  • Never apply eye makeup while in motion or driving.
  • Don't use water or saliva to lubricate applicator or thin cosmetics.
  • Don't apply makeup if your eyes are red, swollen or infected. Consult your ophthalmologist (eye doctor) if symptoms persist.
  • Don't wear your contacts if your eyes don't look good, feel good or see well.