Latisse for Longer Eyelashes: Is It Safe for Your Eyes?

Today longer eyelashes are desired by many women. Cosmetics such as mascara, eye shadow and eye liners are all used to draw attention to a woman’s eyes. Now, thanks to Latisse women may be able to grow longer, fuller eye lashes within weeks.

You have probably heard about Latisse, the eyelash grower that’s been on the market since it was FDA approved in December of 2008. You might be wondering if it’s safe for your eyes. How do you use it? And does it really work? Latisse, is it safe?

Latisse is actually a version of a glaucoma drug in eye drop form called bimatoprost in use since FDA approved it in 2001. Eye  doctors and their glaucoma patients noticed the hair growth side effect, with longer, thicker eyelashes appearing over time.

Celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy and Mandy Moore have reportedly used Latisse, and its advertising spokespeople have included Brooke Shields and Claire Danes. Recently, Christina Hendricks, star of Mad Men, signed on to promote the product in conjunction with a charity fundraising campaign called the Latisse Wishes Challenge.

How Does Latisse Work?

According to studies, Latisse lengthens, thickens and darkens eyelashes. Eyelashes sprout, will grow for a while but like the hair on your head, they will eventually fall out. Latisse is proven to both extend the growth phases and multiply the number of hairs that sprout.

Latisse is applied by dabbing it on the upper lash line each night with the sterile applicators supplied. As you blink the drug is then added to your lower eyelashes. It should never be applied in your eye or onto your lower lid. Before Latisse is applied all make up should be cleaned off along with contact lenses removed.

Applicators are intended for a one time use.  Re-using applicators can lead to serious problems, such as infections and allergic reactions. Since Latisse may promote hair growth on other skin areas it’s important to apply it precisely and carefully.

After two months of nightly use, you may begin to see results. After three or four months, your doctor may recommend a treatment schedule of every two days. If you stop using Latisse, your eyelashes will gradually return to their former state.

Study participants experienced these results after 16 weeks:

Latisse to grow lashes

Image: Allergan, Inc.

  • Eyelash length increased by 25 percent.
  • Thickness and fullness increased by 106 percent.
  • Eyelash darkness increased by 18 percent.

Potential Latisse Side Effects

Clinical studies show that Latisse eyelash lengthener is safe for most people. However, you may not  be a candidate for it if you have certain eye problems (such as uveitis and conjunctivitis), risk for macular edema, severe allergies or skin
infections of the upper eyelids. Pregnant women shouldn’t use it, and nursing women may want to wait as well.

During clinical studies, full results appeared after 12 to 16 weeks of daily use.

Because the active ingredient in Latisse lowers intraocular pressure, if you are already using IOP-lowering medications for ocular hypertension and/or glaucoma, you must tell your eye doctor before you try Latisse so he or she can monitor your eye pressure closely.

Most study participants had no problems if Latisse accidentally got into their eyes. But a few did experience effects that included dry eyes and eyelid skin darkening. The side effects that occurred in the largest percentage of participants were eye redness (3.6 percent) and itchiness (also 3.6 percent).

Allergan reports that permanent brown pigmentation of the iris is a potential side effect, but it was not reported as occurring during the studies. Such an eye color change could be an important drawback for some people, though color contact lenses could be one solution.

Tell your doctor if you have any of the above side effects, as well as any vision problems, eye infections or allergic reactions. Also tell your doctor if you are planning to have any eye surgery.



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