Are Eyelash Growth Serums Safe for Your Eyes?
You may have heard of the popular eyelash lengthening serum Latisse, but chances are, you are not familiar with the story of how it came to be. Latisse was actually discovered by accident during a clinical trial for a glaucoma eyedrop called Lumigan, which contains an active ingredient called bimatoprost.
Over 40 percent of the Lumigan trial’s participants were surprised to notice their eyelashes becoming thicker and darker while using the drops. This discovery inspired scientists to harness bimatoprost, a chemical called a prostaglandin, for cosmetic purposes, and eventually Latisse was born. Intended to be painted along the upper lashline daily, Latisse works by lengthening the growth cycle of eyelashes, which leads to longer, darker and fuller lashes.
But exactly how safe are eyelash growth serums like Latisse? Dr. Gregory Johnson and Dr. Gail Kelley of the Intracoastal Eye team share our thoughts in this post.
Latisse Receives FDA Approval
The FDA approved Latisse in 2008, declaring it safe and effective for the purposes of lengthening, thickening and darkening the eyelashes. Per their guidelines, the product should not be used by individuals who are under the age of 18, pregnant or nursing. Clinical testing showed that in a small amount of cases (3 to 4 percent), Latisse caused itchiness of the eyes, eye redness and increased pigmentation of the eye’s iris. Additionally, Latisse should not be used if you have a history of herpes simplex or herpes zoster infection in either eye. (These common viruses are also known as the “cold sore” virus and the “shingles” virus.) Another uncommon side effect of Latisse is a type of swelling in the retina called cystoid macular edema.
After the FDA’s approval, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) issued a position statement with advice and precautions for using the medication. They advised users to take out contact lenses before applying the product, and not reuse the single-use applicator, or eye infection may occur. The AAO also advised that individuals taking prostaglandins for intraocular pressure while also using Latisse may not see the desired medical benefits, and should consult with an ophthalmologist.
Are You Thinking of Trying an Eyelash Growth Serum?
In the years since the creation of Latisse, countless other serums have been developed and sold, promising to thicken, lengthen and darken lashes. However, Latisse remains the only eyelash growth serum approved by the FDA. Other serums claiming to imitate the effects of Latisse may contain isopropyl cloprostenate, which is not FDA tested or approved.
If you are interested in Latisse, a medical prescription is required. You must see an eye doctor to ensure you qualify for treatment. When using the product, you should follow all of the instructions to limit your risk of infection or other eye problems, and you should contact your ophthalmologist if you notice a change in your vision or any new eye conditions. Also, it is important to note that if you stop using Latisse, your eyelashes will return to their previous appearance within several weeks.
For more information about how Latisse may affect your eye health, contact Intracoastal Eye today.