Ungluing Superglued™ eyelids – the options [study]

Gluing-on false eyelashes with cyanoacrylate (CA) adhesive – like say, Superglue™ – is widely regarded as a very bad idea. However, in the case that that one’s eyelids do get superglued™ together, and one presents oneself at a hospital casualty department, what can medics do to remove the glue?

In 2008, a US-based research team investigated the effectiveness (or otherwise) of 5 chemical compounds – Bacitracin, K-Y Jelly, Baby shampoo, Acetone and Water, to unglue eyelids that have accidentally got stuck together during cyanoacrylate-assisted false-eyelash applications.

Unfortunately, none of the chemicals was found to be effective (with the exception of acetone, which, though partially useful, can itself cause eye injuries). The research team therefore recommend that :

“At this time, we believe that eyelash adhesion may best be treated by watchful waiting.”

Without treatment, the glue usually comes unstuck in about six days or so.

See: Evaluation of Treatments for Cyanoacrylate Eyelash Adhesion Using an In-Vitro Model, in Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, Volume 27, issue 1, 2008.


• Unfortunately, the paper doesn’t include any photos. The image above is from a somewhat related paper, which shows a Superglued™ eyelid. See : Role of Temporary Tarsorrhaphy Using Super Glue in the Management of Corneal Disorders, Pak J Ophthalmol 2009, Vol. 25 No. 3. It documents the medical uses of Superglue™ to deliberately (temporarily) glue eyelids together.

• Although the exact numbers are unknown, “over the past decade the senior author has treated several patients with their eyelids glued shut”

Bacitracin isn’t a solvent, it’s an antibiotic cream (used on chickens, turkeys and humans) and was investigated because of anecdotal reports of its effectiveness. It was voted ‘Allergen of the Year in’ 2003 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Research research by Martin Gardiner