Length of Lashes Keeps Eyes From Drying, Study Finds

Long and luxurious eyelashes have been in fashion at least since Cleopatra. But scientists now suggest that their real function is to help protect eyes from drying out.

David Hu at the Georgia Institute of Technology first decided to investigate eyelashes after seeing his newborn daughter bat hers three years ago. He enlisted graduate students in his biomechanics lab and colleagues to join the investigation.

They measured the lashes of different mammals, most of which have them. They made an artificial eye with lashes, put it in a wind tunnel and blew air at it. And they created mathematical models of airflow over lashes.

A version of this article appears in print on February 25, 2015, on page A12 of the New York edition with the headline: Lashes’ Length Keeps Eyes From Drying, Study Finds . Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe

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