Bimatoprost is prescribed to treat glaucoma, but patients using this eye drop medication also noted longer eyelash growth. Latisse is a version of bimatoprost approved by the FDA to treat hypotrichosis, the condition of having inadequate or not enough eyelashes. This prescription medication is applied to the base of the lashes of the upper lid only, and increases the thickness, length and darkness of lashes. However, there are mild to serious effects associated with Latisse.
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The most common side effect of Latisse is eye redness and itchiness; patients may experience dry eye symptoms as well. There is a small risk of inflammation inside the eye in patients using bimatoprost eye drops to treat glaucoma. Patients developing intraocular inflammation (uveitis) must consult with an ophthalmologist, as Latisse can worsen this condition.
Increased eyelid pigmentation can occur while using Latisse. Eyelid colour continues to darken as long as Latisse is being used; however, the pigmentation usually fades when treatment ceases. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, study of this effect in African Americans is planned by the manufacturer.
A serious side effect of Latisse is the risk of increased iris pigmentation, which changes eye colour to dark brown and is not reversible. This has occurred in patients using bimatoprost eye drops to treat glaucoma; the manufacturer's study did not indicate iris pigmentation in relation to Latisse. Patients should take this side effect into consideration before deciding to use the medication.
Impact on Eye Pressure
Bimatoprost lowers eye pressure when used to treat glaucoma. Patients using Latisse experience lowered eye pressure as well, but to a lesser degree. Latisse must only be used under close supervision by an eye doctor when treatment for glaucoma is already in use. Using bimatoprost more than once a day may interfere with the medication's effectiveness; therefore, using bimatoprost and Latisse together is not appropriate. The use of Latisse in patients with undiagnosed glaucoma may delay the actual diagnosis. Patients must consult an ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam to rule out glaucoma and other conditions prior to using Latisse.
Other Side Effects
Latisse can cause unwanted hair growth on the face or other parts of the eyelid that come in contact with the solution on a regular basis. Care must be taken to blot and remove excess medication. Differences in the growth and thickness of hair between the eyes can occur. Other less common side effects seen in patients using the eye drop form of bimatoprost, such as changes in colour vision, blurry vision, fever and chills, are not evident in Latisse patients. Use Latisse strictly under the direction of an opthalmologist to maximise the medication's effectiveness and manage any potential side effects.
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