Eyelashes only protect the eye when length is optimal

eyelashesFrom a cosmetic viewpoint, eyelashes can never be long enough, but when seen from a health perspective, eyelashes should have a specific length. US researchers arrived at this conclusion in a study published in the “Journal of the Royal Society Interface”. According to the study, eyelashes only offer optimal protection to the eye if their length is one third of the eye width.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) examined animal hides in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. They found that the length of eyelashes in most mammals – including humans – demonstrates the same proportion to eye width – one to three.

Subsequently, the scientists constructed a wind tunnel and a model of an adult human eye to mimic airflow around the eye. Mesh, which surrounded the eye replicated the eyelashes. Its length was varied and the effects on the eye were measured.

If the eyelashes were too short, airflow around the eye was increased and more particles stayed on the surface. When they grew longer, airflow was reduced and a layer of slow-moving air formed above the cornea, which kept the eye moist and particles away.

But the opposite occurred when the eyelashes were too long. In this case they extended further into the airflow and created a kind of cylinder which channelled the air and its molecules towards the eye and also led to faster evaporation.

Thus, eyelashes form a kind of barrier which controls airflow and the rate of evaporation on the surface of the cornea, explained study author Guillermo Amador “That is why long, elegant, fake eyelashes aren’t ideal. They may look good, but they’re not the best thing for the health of your eyes.”

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