Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kajal - The harmful effects of kajal on the eyes

Kajal & Surma are traditional Indian ingredients to makeup those beautiful eyes. Originally "kajal" did not start as a makeup but as a home remedy medication. Zinc, copper sulfate and many medicinal herbs were important ingredients which had definite action on eye infections. In olden days Trachoma, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcer and other blinding infections were very common in Noth India and this part of Asia. Medical aid & medicines were not easily available or were out of reach of most. In that scenario kajal had relevance & played the role of protecting the eyes as our great grandnmothers propogated.

The constituents of kajal were selected emperically or on hearsay. The methods of preparing kajal were were crude & there was no way to define the concentration of each consituent & its actual effect on the eye. This remains the case till date.

Today witgh the availability of good drugs in precise concentration and well researched effects on the eyes & the disease that they are meant for, "kajal" looses it's relevance & role. However, kajal continues to be used widely by females as a beauty enhancer.

Kajal can have adverse effects on the eyes. Some of them are listed below:
  • Conjunctivitis - chemical, toxic & infective
  • Allergy
  • Toxicity / Chemical Reaction
  • Meibomitis
  • Stye & Hordeolum - infections of the glands of the eye lids
  • Corneal ulcer - which can potentially lead to blindness
  • Uveitis - certain chemicals in kajal can incite inflammation inside the eye
  • Glaucoma - some constituents  can increase eye pressure leading to glaucoma
  • Dry Eye - regular use of kajal can be assiciated with scarring of tear / lacrimal glands causing dry eye syndrome
  • Conjunctival discoloration
It advisable to altogether avoid use of kajal / surma or any makeup that goes inside the eye. The makeup that remains out side e.g. eye-liner, eye-shadow, mascara, etc. are alright to be used but should be meticulously removed at the end of the day. During the period of any eye infection, injury, surgery, etc. no eye makeup should be used.

Eyes are precious and very beautiful even without any makeup, we should take good care of them.

Dr. Sanjay Dhawan
Senior Eye Surgeon
New Delhi / Gurgaon, India

More about eye diseases & their treatment at sdhawan.com


Rati Parker said...

In my case the damage(s) are done!!!

Dyslexicon said...

@Rati Parker - What's the damage done?

Unknown said...

true...people wearing contact lenses have enormous infections if they apply kajal.

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Jhilly said...

I applied a kajal given by my friend, the moment i applied it my eyes started burning and tears came for 5 mins.since then one of my eye is red.its almost 2 weeks now.Please advise.it sometimes itches a lot...

Dyslexicon said...

You may simply wash your eyes with clean cold water. If the irritation persists for more than a few hours then consult an eye surgeon.

Doctor@AEHI said...

Very Informative write-up. Its true, most Indians are not aware of the harm kajal can do. What was true for our grand mothers' time and age may not be applicable today. Awareness is the key!

Jhilly said...

Thanks Dyslexicon.I went to a opthalmologist, he gave me Loteflam eye drops.So the redness and itching got cured within 2 weeks.
But now I am again getting some problems, I am getting a lot of pressure while working in computer, and again there's a red line over both of my eyes.
Do you think that allergy has again come.I am using lotus herbal kajal now.
Please advise.

Jhilly said...

Thanks Dyslexicon.
I went to an opthalmologist, he gave me Loteflam.
It got curwed within 2-3 weeks.
I am using now Lotus herbal kajal.
From yesterday,my eyes have again become red and I am unable to watch computer for more than 1 min.
Do you think I am again getting the same allergy...Are my eyes becoming sensitive to something.
Please advise, as I am worried a lot.
I already have power of -4.5 in my both eyes.