Blurring the Lines: Beauty and Pharma

As Seen in March 2020 issue of Modern Optometry Magazine

The nexus between eye care and beauty is a hot topic, and the growing concern regarding so-called toxic beauty and life-style choices is converging at optometrists’ offices. 

The North American dry eye disease market is estimated to be more than $2 billion.1 The prevalence of dry eye disease is about 1.5 times higher in women than in men.2 Now think about the fact that 41% of women wear mascara on a daily basis.3 Furthermore, US women apply an average of 12 cosmetic products each day, containing some subset of more than 12,000 synthetic and industrial chemicals.4 These products are often absorbed through the skin, where they may act as neurotoxins, carcinogens, mutagens, and endocrine disruptors.5,6 Cosmetics may increase ocular irritation, blepharitis, meibomian gland and corneal epithelial cell toxicity, and even cause or exacerbate dry eye disease.


About 15 years ago, I began researching the correlation between cosmetics use and dry eye. After col-laborating with laboratories in the United States, Canada, and Italy, I have created a new generation of optocosmetics called Èyes Are The Story, products uniquely focused on eye health. The clinically tested formulas are gluten-free, phthalate-free, and paraben-free and don’t include many of the toxic ingredients found in main-stream cosmetics and skin care. Èyes Are The Story formulations are EU-compliant, which means they adhere to stricter regulations than products tested in the United States. During recent trials in Europe, the ocular acceptability of the products was assessed on individuals with sensitive eyes, contact lens wearers, and individuals with dry eye. After 28 consecutive days of using Èyes Are The Story products, study participants were queried about ocular sensations felt in intensity and duration, including watering, itching of eyes and eyelids, stinging of eyes and eyelids, dryness of eyes and eyelids, and eyelid swelling. The trials exhibited favorable results, with positive claims that the products are well tolerated on the ocular level and suitable for sensitive eyes.


As a female entrepreneur, launch-ing a wellness-meets-beauty brand has been the biggest yet most gratify-ing challenge of my career. During this journey I’ve been blessed to be surrounded and guided by experts including John D. Gelles, OD; Leslie O’Dell, OD; Bridgitte Shen Lee, OD; Christopher E. Starr, MD, FACS; and my dad, David A. Sullivan, MS, PhD. 


This is a reprinted article from the March 2020 issue of Modern Optometry by Amy Gallant Sullivan, Founder of Èyes Are The Story