Dry Eye

Is Your Eyeliner Causing Dry Eye?

Posted on

A new study presented at the 3rd World Congress of Optometry examined whether chronic use of eyeliner leads to dry eye symptoms, including tear film instability and meibomian gland dysfunction.

The masked, prospective, observational clinical trial included participants who were separated into three groups: those who never or very rarely wear makeup (No-M), those who wear it frequently but only outside the eyelid margin (Min-M), and those who wear it directly on the lid margin 4 or more times per week (W-M). Data were consolidated from 22 participants in the No-M and Min-M groups and compared with data from 9 participants in the W-M group.

Results showed that no statistical significance was found for any measure, but trends were observed. Lipid layer thickness trended lower in the W-M group compared to the No/Min-M group (W-M = 47.9 ± 16 nm, No-Min-M = 60.9 ± 20 nm; p = .076) whereas tear meniscus height trended higher in the W-M group compared to the No/Min-M group (W-M = 0.30 ± 0.05 um, No/Min-M = 0.28 ± 0.10 nm; p = .468). In addition, a modified Meibomian Gland Dysfunction score, only including lid marginal signs and secretion quality, trended higher in the W-M group compared to the No/Min-M group (W-M = 4.22 ± 1.2, No-M and Min-M = 3.91 ± 0.94; p = .515).

The results suggest chronic marginal eyeliner use may have mild effects on the tear film and meibomian gland dysfunction. The researchers are continuing enrollment to determine whether a larger sample size substantiates these trends.


Alkawally M, Paugh J, Van de Pol C, Lin R, Sasai A, Nguyen A. The effect of chronic marginal eyeliner use on tears and meibomian gland function. Poster presented at: Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry; Orlando, FL; October 23-27, 2019.

Related Articles
Not All DED Patients Have Chronic Symptoms
Aug 02, 2021
Dry Eye Awareness Month: Focus on these 3 Goals
Jul 27, 2021
Systane iLux non-inferior to Lipiflow in change in meibomian gland score
Jul 25, 2021