The Real Reason for Eyelashes and Eyebrows

May 13, 2024

Eyelashes and eyebrows do much more than enhance our looks.

Far from just being accessories for conveying emotions or casting playful looks, they play a vital role in eye health. Serving as a primary protective barrier, they help keep airborne particles and environmental threats at bay, safeguarding our eyes from potential harm.

The Functional Role of Eyelashes

Eyelashes are often praised for their aesthetic value, but their fundamental purpose is to protect our eyes from dirt, debris, and other airborne contaminants. When our eyelids close, our eyelashes create a tight seal, effectively preventing these irritants from getting through. Additionally, eyelashes are highly sensitive, and their touch prompts a quick blinking reaction to stop foreign objects from approaching the eyes too closely. This sensitivity, while protective, can be problematic for contact lens wearers and those applying eye makeup, as it may trigger blinking.

Eyelashes are naturally calibrated to be just the right thickness and length to shield the eyes from dust and help retain moisture. The use of false eyelashes can upset this natural balance, potentially leading to increased dust accumulation and dryer eyes. Moreover, false eyelashes can sometimes cause allergic reactions or infections. Even more concerning, eyelash extensions come with the risk of causing temporary or even permanent damage to natural lashes.

The Defensive Function of Eyebrows

Despite being positioned further from the eyes, eyebrows play an essential role in protecting our vision. They act much like a barrier, channeling liquids such as sweat or rain away from the eyes and down the sides of the face. Their strategic arch and the angle at which the hairs grow enhance this diverting function, similar to a thatched roof over our eyes.

Just as cosmetic modifications to eyelashes can impair their protective capabilities, over-plucking or excessive waxing of eyebrows can diminish their effectiveness. Fortunately, the recent trend towards fuller eyebrows is a positive development (and one that we hope will continue) as thicker brows enhance this natural protective mechanism.

Consult Your Optometrist for Eyebrow and Eyelash Concerns

Typically, our eyebrows and eyelashes stay healthy with minimal intervention. Nevertheless, problems like ingrown hairs, inflammation, or hair loss can occasionally occur. Should you encounter any issues with your eyebrows or eyelashes, don't hesitate to reach out. Our team of optometrists is equipped to assess your situation and offer the appropriate treatment if needed.

We delight in caring for our valued patients!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.