Theresa Lynch, 50, had a seriously upsetting complication after 25 years of heavy mascara use.

Sarah Klein
June 01, 2018

No matter how many times we’re told to never go to sleep still wearing the makeup put on earlier in the day, we’ve all had the occasional night where flopping into bed without removing it is all too inviting.

But the graphic image below (consider yourself warned!) might just put an end to that lazy habit once and for all.

Theresa Lynch, 50, who lives in Sydney, Australia, had gotten used to skimping on the whole mascara-removal process. After 25 years of applying it heavily, she went to see an eye doctor because she felt like something was constantly in both eyes.

She was treated by ophthalmic surgeon Dana Robaei, who wrote about Lynch’s case in the May 2018 issue of the journal Ophthalmology. Dr. Robaei found “multiple darkly pigmented subconjunctival concretions” inside Lynch’s eyelids, “some eroding through the conjunctival surface,” according to the case study. In other words, hard masses of accumulated mascara were burrowed into Lynch's eyelids. 

Blinking caused those masses of mascara to rub her eyeballs—which could have led to potentially blinding infections, according to reports.

Dana Robaei, PhD, FRANZCO/aaojournal.org

Luckily, sleeping in your makeup is more likely to lead to irritation, pimples, or sties (not that you want any of those things to happen to you either). So take it all off—every night.

Jessica Lattman, MD, an ophthalmologist in New York, recommended using Almay Oil-Free Gentle Eye Makeup Removed Pads ($6; target.com) in a prior interview. “It’s like giving a shampoo to your lashes.”

RELATED: 9 Worst Eye Care Mistakes You’re Making

If you, like Lynch, consider yourself a devotee of heavy eye makeup, you might also want to take one additional protective step: Skip the eyeliner on your waterline. Touching the liner to the inside of your lids introduces any bacteria lingering on your products directly to your eyeballs.