How eyelash length keeps eyes healthy

February 25, 2015 12:55 PM

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How eyelash length keeps eyes healthy

It started with a trip to the basement of the American Museum of Natural History in New York to inspect preserved animal hides. Later, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers built a wind tunnel about 2 ft tall, complete with a makeshift eye. By putting both steps together, the team discovered that 22 species of mammals—from humans, to hedgehogs, to giraffes—are the same: their eyelash length is one-third the width of their eye. Anything shorter or longer, including the fake eyelashes that are popular in Hollywood and make-up aisles, increases airflow around the eye and leads to more dust hitting the surface.

“Eyelashes form a barrier to control airflow and the rate of evaporation on the surface of the cornea,” said Guillermo Amador, a Georgia Tech graduate candidate in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering who authored the study. “When eyelashes are shorter than the one-third ratio, th...

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