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  • Writer's pictureDr Anne Malatt

Eyelash health: Eyelash growth serums

Many of us would love to have longer, fuller, darker lashes and we may use mascara to this end.

One of the most common treatments for the eye disease glaucoma is a class of drugs called prostaglandin analogues (Latanoprost or Lumigan and Bimatoprost or Xalatan), which lower the pressure of the fluid in the eye.

Some people who used these eye drops were noted to develop fuller, darker, longer eyelashes and this effect inspired the use of the drugs for cosmetic purposes. It is packaged and marketed as such in the USA as Latisse, but this is exactly the same drug as Lumigan.

The effect on lashes can take two months or more to develop, and does not happen with everyone. Even when it does happen, it only lasts while you use the drug, as our lashes grow, then fall out and grow again in a natural cycle of 6-10 weeks.

Lumigan/Latisse has other effects too. These can include:

· redness and irritation of the eyes and eyelids,

· darkening of the skin around the eyes, and

· darkening of the iris, the coloured part of the eye, so that green and hazel eyes can become brown and brown eyes can become darker brown. This effect can be irreversible, so the colour change does not revert when you stop the drug.

So yes, Lumigan can make your lashes longer, darker and fuller. It can also make your eyes and lids red and sore, give you dark circles around your eyes, and change the colour of your eyes.

If you still really want to try Lumigan, it is a medical drug and requires a medical prescription and supervision.

Prostaglandin analogues like Lumigan can aggravate inflammation of the eyes (blepharitis, conjunctivitis and uveitis) and can cause or worsen macular oedema, leading to blurred vision. If you have glaucoma, it may interfere with your other eye medications and can only be used under supervision. If, while using Lumigan you develop any new eye problems, blurred vision or any other reactions, or if you are having eye surgery, please seek specialist medical advice.

Please see your ophthalmologist (eye specialist) for a full discussion of these concerns and so that your eye health can be monitored if you wish to trial Lumigan for cosmetic reasons.

If you do wish to trial it, you will need a prescription as it cannot be bought over the counter.

· Lumigan is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.

· Lumigan is a prescription drug and should not be used by anyone else other than the person it was prescribed to.

· If you use it, please carefully follow the package insert instructions.

· If you experience any reactions or adverse effects at all, please stop taking the medication and seek medical advice.

I am staying with mascara.



2. American Academy of Ophthalmology's position statement on Latisse

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