The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of a prescription drug, Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution, 0.03%), to help lengthen, thicken and darken eyelashes. It has the same active ingredient (called a prostaglandin analog) as a drug called Lumigan used for treating glaucoma.

Woman applying mascara

It was discovered that some people using Lumigan to treat their glaucoma found they had increased length, darkening and/ thickening of their eyelashes. This desirable effect led to the use of this drug for cosmetic purposes. However, there are other, undesirable side effects of bimatoprost ophthalmic solution such as eye redness, irritation and darkening of the skin of the eyelids (all of which can be reversed once the drug is no longer taken). Darkening of the iris (the colored portion of the eye) has also been reported, and this side effect cannot be reversed.

If you have an eye condition, such as glaucoma, macular edema or eye inflammation, or if you have any questions or concerns about your eye health and Latisse, see your Eye M.D., who can evaluate you to make sure you are a good candidate for Latisse as well as prescribe this drug for you. Also, to reduce the risk of side effects from using Latisse, closely follow the instructions for using the drug.

Some important considerations to remember:

  • Latisse is not approved for people under the age of 18. Also, it is not recommended for women during pregnancy or women who are breastfeeding.
  • Since this is a prescription drug, Latisse should not be used by anyone other than the person to whom it was prescribed.
  • If you wear contact lenses, take them out before using Latisse, and wait 15 minutes after using the drug before putting your contact lenses back in your eyes.
  • Do not reuse the single-use applicator for this drug or contaminate the bottle by allowing the bottle tip to come into contact with any other surface, as this may lead to serious eye infection.
  • If you develop a new eye condition, have a sudden decrease in your vision, have eye surgery or develop any eye reactions, immediately call your Eye M.D. Only an ophthalmologist has the medical training in eye care to assess your particular reactions and conditions.

Read the American Academy of Ophthalmology's position statement on Latisse PDF (72K).

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