Thick lashes and dark eyebrows are in right now, so these two facial features are getting a lot of attention in the fashion department. But do you know that they serve a purpose besides helping us express our emotions? They’re actually play an important role in protecting our eyes!
The main biological function of eyebrows is to keep sweat and moisture away from our eyes. The arching shape and the direction of the individual hairs help to direct moisture towards the sides of our faces, keeping most of the liquid away from our eyes, whether it’s raining or we’re sweaty from an intense workout.
Because our eyebrows serve as a kind of shield for our eyes, and also because they make our faces so expressive, we should be careful how we groom them. If we pluck them too thin or shave them, they can’t do their important jobs. That’s why, as optometrists, we’re fans of the current thick brows trend — more people are getting the most out of their eyebrows!
Like our eyebrows keep the moisture out of our eyes, eyelashes do the even more important job of keeping out airborne debris, including dust, sand, and dirt. They work almost like fences, and when we close our eyes, they form a barrier that contaminants can’t get through. Eyelashes are also highly sensitive and trigger a reflex response. If something touches them, our instinctive reaction is to blink so that the foreign object can’t reach the eye!
While eyebrows hairs take several months to grow out, eyelashes only take a few weeks, so when they fall out or get pulled out, they replace themselves fairly quickly. Some conditions can negatively impact eyelashes, including madarosis (an infection that causes the loss of eyelashes), trichiasis (ingrown eyelashes), and a stye (painful inflammation of eyelash follicles).
Normally eyebrows and eyelashes will stay healthy if left alone (makeup and plucking is okay, but don’t overdo it), but if you have any health concerns regarding your brows or lashes, don’t be afraid to talk to us about it! We would be happy to take a look and make sure they are in good shape to continue protecting your eyes!