You may have heard of Latisse, a popular lash growth serum purported to lengthen, thicken, and darken eyelashes within 16 weeks of use. Since Latisse was introduced to the beauty market, many similar brands have cropped up, all claiming to provide the same benefits. However, Latisse has well documented side effects which can harm the eyes or eyelid tissue. In today’s optometry blog post, our Raleigh optometrist will explain the risks of Latisse and similar lash growth serums.
For eye doctors, the most concerning ingredient in Latisse is its active ingredient, bimatoprost. Bimatoprost is a chemical known as a prostaglandin analogue. Prostaglandins are chemical compounds which are found in naturally in almost all of our body’s tissues, which are responsible for signaling inflammation within the body.
As such, it should come as no surprise that Latisse has been associated with common symptoms of inflammation around the eyes, such as:
In addition to chronic irritation, Latisse has also been known to darken the eyelid skin and the iris color in people with light brown or hazel eyes, as well as potentially causing a “sunken eye” appearance by shrinking the layers of orbital fat around the eye socket.
At first glance, the side effects listed above might seem very minor when compared with other eye issues. However, ocular surface dysfunction and chronic dry eye can take a permanent and lasting toll on your vision quality and comfort. This is because every time we blink, the meibomian glands around our eyes secrete a tiny amount of oil to keep them moist. When prostaglantin analogues cause eye inflammation, the oil thickens, and can no longer spread evenly over the surface of the eye (just like, for example, toothpaste is harder to spread over a surface than olive oil.)
The oil can even get so thick that it blocks and backs up in the meibomian glands. If this is not addressed, it can damage the glands permanently. Without any Meibomian glands, the body will not be able to moisten the eye. The result is irreversible and often severe dry eye.
At $130 per month, Latisse is quite expensive for the average consumer and many brands have cropped up as a “cheap” non-prescription alternative. However, these cheaper options are often just as harmful to the eyes, or even more so. Many of them use the active ingredient Isopropyl Cloprostenate, which is another prostaglandin analogue with a similar method of action.
If you crave longer, darker eyelashes, most optometrists strongly recommend using a high quality mascara, which has the same benefits with much fewer risks. However, if you are determined to use Latisse or a similar eyelash serum product, talk to your eye doctor first about the risks involved. Your eye doctor can monitor you for symptoms of chronic dry eye and other negative side-effects that may permanently damage your tear ducts and ocular surface. If you need an eye doctor in Raleigh NC, schedule an appointment with Raleigh Eye Care today.