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Cosmetic Safety: Are Eyelash Lengtheners Safe For Your Eyes?

August 25, 2011

How do eyelash growth products such as Latisse affect the eyes?

While your eyes play a large role in your overall appearance and looks, they also greatly influence the way that people view you as a person―Do your eyes give off signs of trust and honestly? Do they show that you are full of wisdom and knowledge? Or perhaps they are shifty and avoid eye contact, showing that you are someone that cannot be trusted.

As the saying goes, the eyes are the window to the soul, and they are also one of the very first things that people notice when they meet you. Because of this, many people consider their eyes to be their most important feature, and therefore, will do anything to ensure that they look great, whether through makeup, contacts or prescription treatments.

One treatment option that has become a popular way to enhance the look of your eyes over the last few years is Latisse―a treatment that is said to lengthen, thicken and darken the eyelashes. This FDA-approved eyelash lengthener has attracted attention from everyone from your average middle-aged mom to popular celebrity endorsers, such as Brooke Shields and Claire Danes.

However, while this product is available at places everywhere, from online pharmacies to plastic surgeon offices, is this eyelash treatments really as safe as we think it is? Because this product is so closely related to the care and keeping of your eyes, we have decided to look at Latisse from an eye care point of view and determine how safe this product is once and for all.

How Do Eyelash Growth Products Work?

Eyelash lengthening products, such as Latisse, are actually developed from a glaucoma drug in eye drop form called bimatoprost. Since it’s FDA-approval in 2001, eye doctors and patients began to notice significant side effects from bimatoprost, such as eyelash growth and darker lashes over time. Eventually, a separate product (Latisse) was developed specifically for producing longer, thicker lashes and was FDA-approved in 2008.

According to studies, by applying Latisse to the upper eyelash line each night before bed, you can extend the growth phase of your lashes and increase the number of hairs that grow.

What Are The Side Effects Of These Products?

While products such as Latisse are safe for many individuals, there are a number of reasons why you may not be a candidate, including:

  • If you suffer from eye problems such as uveitis and conjunctivitis
  • If you are at risk of macular edema
  • If you have severe allergies or skin infections of the upper eyelids
  • If you are pregnant or nursing
  • If you are taking medication that lowers your intraocular pressure or for glaucoma

However, even if you do not fall into one of these categories, you may still experience side effects such as hair growth in areas other than your eyelashes, dry eyes, eyelid skin darkening, eye redness, itchiness, permanent brown pigmentation of the iris and eye color change.

Because of the large effect that many of these symptoms may have on your overall eye health, it is imperative that you talk to your eye doctor before starting Latisse. Not only will they be able to discuss the pros and cons of this popular eyelash product, but they can also walk you through the safe ways to use it and tell you which side effects to watch out for.

It’s important to remember that products like Latisse are not a simple cosmetic like mascara or eyeliner―they are a drug. Therefore, you should always do a proper amount of research and speak with someone who truly understands the risks and side effects, such as a certified eye care professional.


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