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Subspecialties Business and Innovation, Basic & Translational Research, Cornea / Ocular Surface

Easy on the Eyes

Credit: The Ophthalmologist

The global cosmetics market was valued at just under US$300 billion USD in 2022. By 2030, it is expected to grow to over $400 billion (1). Big business!

But as the global demand for cosmetics continues to increase – aided and abetted by an explosion of self taught beauticians on social media channels (I’m talking about you, Tik Tok) – so too does the incidence of eye-related problems. Harmful ingredients contained in popular cosmetic eye products, such as formaldehyde and hydroquinone, can migrate to the ocular surface (2). A recent study involving 207 adult Saudi females found that the prevalence of dry eye disease (DED) among women who used eye cosmetics was 71.6 percent – much higher than the prevalence of DED in other populations (3). A similar study found that over-the-counter eyelash serums likely contribute to an increased risk of ocular adverse events, such as conjunctival hyperemia (4).

Although various organizations have published “tips and tricks” to avoid ocular damage, these are often overlooked by consumers in favor of trying the latest viral beauty product (2,5).

As more research surfaces on the associations between cosmetics and eye health, it’s clear that something needs to be done. But what? To be fair, the cosmetics market has seen the introduction of eye care-oriented cosmetics in recent years. Twenty/Twenty is one such brand that considers eye safety as a number one priority. Twenty/Twenty’s founder – and board-certified ophthalmologist – Diane Campo has banned over 60 ingredients from her products (6). Similarly, bio-beauty brand ÈYESARETHESTORY creates eye-safe cosmetics formulas guided by world-renowned eye care professionals (7).

Though it’s great to see such companies making a mark on the global cosmetics marketplace, are they likely to upskittle cosmetics giants that often charge much less for similar products? That question is what makes recent news from Clinique interesting. The dermatologist-developed beauty brand, valued at approximately $4.8 billion dollars in 2023, has appointed Ashley Brisette as the brand’s first guiding ophthalmologist (8). New York-based Brisette will help the brand develop new products and educational content that prioritizes eye health and safety.

Do you foresee other popular cosmetics brands following in Clinique’s footsteps? What else can be done to eradicate eye problems for cosmetic consumers worldwide? Let us know in the comments or drop me a line.

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  1. Fortune Business Insights, “Market Research Report” (2023). Available at:
  2. Alabama Family Eye Care, “How Cosmetics Can Harm Your Eyes” (2023). Available at: 
  3. N A Albdaya et al., “Prevalence of Dry Eye Disease and Its Association With the Frequent Usage of Eye Cosmetics Among Women,” Cureus, [Online ahead of print] (2022). PMID: 36017302. 
  4. D A Sullivan et al., “TFOS Lifestyle: Impact of cosmetics on the ocular surface,” Ocul Surf (2023). PMID: 37061220. 
  5. Youtube, “Trying Viral TikTok Makeup Products So You Won’t Have To” (2023). Available at:
  6. Twenty/Twenty (2023). Available at: 
  7. Èyes Are The Story (2023). Available at:
  8. Clinique, “The Clinique Eye Safety Promise” (2023).
About the Author
Sarah Healey

Communicating stories in a way that is accessible to all was one of the focal points of my Creative Writing degree. Although writing magical realism is a fun endeavor (and one I still dabble in), getting to the heart of human stories has always been the driving motivator behind my writing. At Texere, I am able to connect with the people behind scientific breakthroughs and share their stories in a way that is impactful and engaging.

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