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Latisse: Are Long, Beautiful Eyelashes Really Worth It?

In the past few weeks, I have had an unusually high number of patients asking my opinion on the eyelash enhancement drug called Latisse.  Last year, when the drug was introduced, the Allergan pharmaceutical rep came to our office to inform us about the product and how the company was planning to market it.  At the end of the presentation, she gave a 30-day sample to anyone who wanted to try it.  I politely declined. Latisse (bimatropost ophthalmic solution 0.03%), in fact, replicates the active ingredient in the glaucoma medication Lumigan. Allergan has found that patients who take Lumigan often expereince eyelash growth as a side effect. But sometimes, that eyelash growth is not a plus.  I have seen patients whose lashes grow so long they actually have to trim them because they are uncomfortable.  They also do not always grow upward and long; sometimes they grow in thick and curly, pointing inward, poking the cornea,and causing the patient to feel as if she has something in her eye every time she blinks. Another important factor to keep in mind is that before you get a prescription for this drug, I recommend that you undergo a thorough eye examination to evaluate specific issues associated with the use of Latisse.  Some of these issues include side effects such as redness of the lids, pigmentation of the lids and iris, dry eyes and eye redness.  While many plastic surgeons and dermatologists will write the prescription for Latisse, I recommend that you first see an ophthalmologist to follow you for any color changes of your iris or lower eyelid skin, and since Latisse is used as an eyedrop for glaucoma, to have your intraocular pressure closely monitored. Be aware though, that with the exception of extreme eyelash loss due to hypothyroidism, side effects of chemotherapy, or some other medical condition, Latisse is considered cosmetic; therefore, a Latisse exam and the drug itself will many times not be covered by your medical insurance. If you're interested in using Latisse, talk it over with a knowledgeable ophthalmologist and weigh your own personal pros and cons, so you are well armed to make an educated choice. We can't all look like Brooke Shields. Mary Sweetman, C.O.A Certified Ophthalmic Assistant

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