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Can Microbeads in Beauty Products Damage your Eye?

Posted: Sep 06 2016
Pink Microbeads

Microbeads are the small, often colourful beads that can be found in facial scrubs, toothpastes and shower gels – but they could be harming your health as well as the environment.

Ironically these abrasive particles may be damaging our looks and our eyes.

Occasionally these beads can get stuck in the eye and if not blinked away, can be lodged under the upper eyelid. When the eyelid closes this can then scratch the cornea (front window of the eye) which in turn can make the eye very sore.

It can be very painful until the scratch heals and rarely requires a trip to casualty to have the offending bead removed by flipping the upper lid over and flicking it out with a Q-tip.

Other problems reported with these microbeads include tooth damage and ripped skin if they are too abrasive.

The UK government has now pledged to ban the beads from most products and Johnson & Johnson, who produce face scrubs amongst other things has committed to phasing out the microbeads by the end of 2017. Proctor and Gamble who own the Crest toothpaste brand have also promised to stop using them by next year.

If you do get a bead or beads in your eye OCL Vision advises:

• Not to worry – most will come out with the reflex watering and blinking that occurs

• If persistent, try washing the eye with water

• If still no luck, try stroking the closed eyelid with the back of your thumb from in by the nose going out towards the ear to try and dislodge the bead.

• If the eye becomes red and painful and the foreign body sensation persists despite the above, go to your nearest eye casualty. Here the treating eye doctor will either irrigate the eye with saline solution and / or flip the eye lid over and remove the offending bead with a Q-tip in a straightforward manoeuvre.

Featured in the Daily Mail and The Sun.

Woman rubbing her eyes


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