Mascara – How long after cataract surgery can I wear mascara and other eye makeup?

Cataract surgery involves making a small incision in your eye. Until this is fully healed, there’s a risk of foreign bodies – for example, dust and bacteria – entering your eye, which may lead to infection. That’s why it’s important to follow any post-operative advice you’re given by your surgeon and the nurses who’re looking after you. You can also find some post-operative dos and don’ts on our website. Taking this guidance into account will help to prevent your eye from becoming infected and reduce the risk of any complications developing following your cataract surgery. 

One of the most common questions we’re asked is, ‘when can I start wearing mascara and other eye-makeup again? 

We advise patients not to wear any mascara, eye makeup, under-eye concealer or eye creams for at least one week after cataract surgery. It’s also important to avoid using make-up applicators like brushes and sponges near your eyes, as they can contain harmful bacteria. You can still moisturise or apply makeup to other areas of your face, but you’ll need to keep the cosmetics you’re using well away from your eyes. Timelines can differ slightly depending on your circumstances, though, so it’s always best to check with your surgeon or optician before resuming your usual beauty routine, as they can give advice that’s tailored specifically to you.  

If you wear eyelash extensions/fake eyelashes, you’ll need to remove them before your surgery, and you won’t be able to wear them again for at least two weeks after surgery. 

We always advise patients to throw away their old eye makeup and applicators and purchase new products to use after their cataract surgery, as this also helps to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and infection.

We also ask our patients to refrain from wearing any eye makeup for 1 week before their cataract surgery is due to take place.   

Once you’re ready to start wearing eye-makeup again, you’ll need to be as gentle as possible when removing it.   

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