Since my mid-week mani in the first week of January, I decided to go on a brief hiatus. You see, my eyes were starting to irritate me and I had an inkling my nail polish habit might have something to do with it.
Let me back up a bit – I’m a constant contact wearer. I’ve been wearing them for the past ten years, no problem. In June, my contacts would not stay in place, my eyes were starting to get really irritated. I figured it was the dust from work, the shape of my stigmatism changed, the contacts I had went bad or expired, or that the contact solution just wasn’t removing the proteins, etc. I put up with the irritation until the end of September (glasses aren’t ideal for my line of work), where the doctor essentially yelled at me for wearing contacts for as long as I had.
I had Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis in both eyes. Essentially, the inside of the eyelids were incredibly swollen and very itchy. The itch made me rub and the rubbing of the eyelids against the contacts (with protein build-up as contacts are wont to do), made the whole situation worse. I was prescribed steroids (that I took for a month which made my eye pressure rise like crazy, so that was bad) and didn’t wear contacts all through October. In November, I was finally given the okay for contacts despite minor swelling persisting (it was a new brand, that I only wear for two weeks at a time because apparently that makes a difference) and a different type of eye drop.
Knowing this eye issue was something I would have to contend with, I was fairly consistent with the drops and wore my glasses more. I didn’t do my nails very much through November and December because of how busy I was with work and preparing for the holidays. It wasn’t until late December/early January that I started noticing some symptoms I experienced all the way back in June. At first I was like “wtf?” and then I thought, what if it was the polish (scents, brands, etc.) and realized I really started doing my nails a lot more in June/July, which is when this all started in the first place.
After doing some research, it turns out that drying nail polish can irritate eyes. It has something to do with the composition of the chemicals as they dry, which can take up to 4 to 6 hours. Obviously, I know not to put chemicals in my eyes and to wait for the polish to dry before removing my contacts (since I usually do them before bed), but I thought the quick dry top coat made it all okay. Turns out, that’s not the case and I just need to make sure my contacts are out of my face before doing my nails.
So, PSA for everyone: the skin around your eyes are more susceptible to irritation because they absorb things way easier than the rest of your skin (you’re biggest organ!). Nail polish is one such irritant. Don’t put drying nails (even if they aren’t tacky!) near your eyes, especially if you wear contacts.
I think I need to get Lasik….