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Medicine to Lengthen Lashes

Q. My sister has been on Lumigan for glaucoma and her eyelashes are amazing–long and thick! What a nice side effect!
I would love to have my eyelashes grow but I think it would be irresponsible to take a prescription medication just for that.

A. Bimatoprost (Lumigan) lowers the pressure in the eyes caused by glaucoma. FDA has also approved bimatoprost as Latisse, a solution applied to the base of the eyelashes to make them grow. Latisse is a prescription drug and rather pricey. Besides stimulating eyelash growth, it can also make blue eyes brown. This change is not reversible.
Side effects of Latisse include itching or redness of the eyes, darkening of eyelid skin, symptoms of dry eye and puffiness around the eyes.
Despite the potential for side effects, some readers are enthusiastic. Here is one report:

“Latisse works well for me. I wear gas permeable contact lenses and am sensitive to eye makeup, even the hypoallergenic mascaras. This product has significantly lengthened/thickened my lashes, and darkened them a bit. At first, I used Latisse nightly; now that I am pleased with my lash growth, I use it every other night or so for maintenance – so, one $100 bottle lasts me about 6 months! (Still, that’s a lot of money to spend.)
“It is crucial to take good care of your eyes. Latisse is not intended for use in the eye, but just along the lash line – it doesn’t require much product, which helps save $; also, by avoiding overly-generous “dosage” you greatly reduce the chance of getting the product in your eye. The day after use, my eyelids are a bit pink in appearance. An esthetician and an eye doctor have told me that eye redness is the most common side effect.
“As an added “plus”, if there is a bit of Latisse left on the applicator brush after using it along my upper lashes, I’ll run the brush through my eyebrows.”

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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