Eyebrows and Eyelashes-What Are They For?

Eyebrows and Eyelashes-What Are They For?

Woman with blue eye

Eyebrows and eyelashes help us to express ourselves, whether by changing our facial expressions or enhancing the way we look. But what is the practical function of the hair that grows around our eyes? In this blog, we’ll discuss the important role that eyebrows and eyelashes play in the overall health of our eyes. 

Eyebrows

Eyebrows are a multifunctional body part. One of their most obvious functions is that they convey emotion. It is easy to read a person’s facial expression by watching the movement of their eyebrows. But they serve a more complex role as well. Eyebrows help to keep our eyes safe by diverting sweat and debris away from the eyes. Additionally, a 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study showed evidence that the eyebrows are significantly responsible for our ability to recognize faces, finding that “the absence of eyebrows in familiar faces leads to a very large and significant disruption in recognition performance.”

Eyelashes

Eyelashes are also responsible for protecting our eyes from debris. They sense objects near the eye, causing the lid to close before the object can enter. Additionally, eyelashes that are the optimal length can prevent tear film from evaporating too quickly, helping to keep the eyes lubricated. A study performed by researchers at Georgia Tech determined that the optimal eyelash length for diverting airflow and reducing tear evaporation is one-third the length of the eye. Lashes longer than this can channel airflow to the eye, which causes tears to evaporate too quickly and results in symptoms of dry eye. It is becoming a common practice to enhance lashes with dyes or extensions, but these procedures do carry risks. To learn more about the risks of eyelash extensions, read our blog here. Eyelashes are susceptible to infections. It is important to keep your eyelids clean and thoroughly remove makeup nightly. Failing to properly care for your eyelashes can lead to infections, dry eye syndrome, and blepharitis. Your eye doctor will evaluate the health of your eyelashes and eyelids at an annual eye exam. 

Eyebrows and eyelashes may be beautiful to look at, but they perform an important duty in the health and safety of our eyes. To keep your eyes healthy, be sure to thoroughly clean your eyes every day with an ophthalmologist approved cleanser. To learn more about the doctor recommended products at Mountain View Optical, or to schedule an eye exam, call (907) 328-2920. To learn more about your eyes, check out all of the blog entries on our website at www.mountainvieweyes.com/blog.


References:

Javid Sadr 1, Izzat Jarudi, Pawan Sinha, “The role of eyebrows in face recognition” 2003

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12729380/

Guillermo J. Amador et al., “Eyelashes Divert Airflow to Protect the Eye” 2015, The Royal Society Publishing https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2014.1294

Written By: Gina Stafford COA, LDO, ABOC

Photo by Egor Vikhrev on Unsplash

 

Posted in: Dry Eye Syndrome

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