Eyelash extensions, Latisse, and glaucoma — putting together the eye lash pieces
If you’re one of the millions of people who are affected by glaucoma, then you may know of bimatoprost ophthalmic solution. It’s a treatment that doctors commonly prescribe to help treat glaucoma — and it has the curious side effect of causing lash growth.
This all too convenient side effect has been studied by scientists and attributed to the function of prostaglandins. When applied to the eye area, they cause a rapid growth of the lashes in the area they are applied. This application of bimatoprost ophthalmic solution was eventually approved by the FDA for the treatment of sparse eyelashes, and that brings us to present day. Anyone who feels that they are experiencing sparse lashes can discuss with a doctor and be prescribed bimatoprost ophthalmic solution — or Latisse.
So how does the full story of Latisse, glaucoma, and eyelash extensions truly come together? Find out by reading more below.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that affect the eye’s ability to drain fluid out of the eye and into the body’s circulatory system This leads to an abnormally high level of pressure within the eyeball. Glaucoma can cause symptoms such as eye pain, eye redness, and headaches. If left untreated, the eye pressure continues to increase over time which damages the optic nerve and eventually leads to vision loss. Glaucoma is one of the top causes of blindness in the United States.
The most common type of glaucoma is chronic (open angle) glaucoma. This condition most commonly affects individuals over the age of 40, but it can occur at any age. This risk factors for developing glaucoma include:
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- Being of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent
- Have high eye pressure
- Are farsighted or nearsighted
- Have had an eye injury
- use long-term steroid medicationsHaving abnormally thin corneas
- Have thinning of the optic nerve
- Have diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation or other health problems affecting the whole body
Glaucoma and dry eye syndrome
Around 40–50% of people who suffer from glaucoma also suffer from dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome occurs as a result of inadequate tear production. Much of dry eye syndrome is induced by the drugs prescribed used to treat glaucoma. Individuals who suffer from this condition may experience eye redness, excessively watery eyes, and a burning or gritty sensation in the eyes. Glaucoma, dry eye syndrome, and eyelash extensions Although there’s no direct connection between glaucoma and eyelash extensions, it’s a good idea to avoid them if you’re also suffering from dry eye syndrome.
Most healthcare professionals advise patients suffering from dry eye syndrome to avoid eyelash extensions, contact lenses, and eye makeup. The main reasons for this are eyelash glue clogging tear ducts, lens soilage, makeup particles flaking off into the tear film. All of these side effects increase the risk of infection. You see, tears don’t only exist for crying. They actually protect the eyes from bacteria, allergens, mites, and other foreign debris. A healthy layer of tear film is what keeps the eyes moisturized, nourished, and healthy.
Individuals suffering from dry eye syndrome are advised to have as little contact with the eyes as possible. It’s best to avoid touching in and around the eyes and using products that require touching the eyes with your hands or a foreign utensil. Using products like eyelash extensions, false eyelashes, eye makeup products, and contact lenses while dealing with dry eye syndrome can increase your risk of developing an eye infection.
If you have glaucoma, and you’re not suffering from dry eye syndrome, infections from eyelash extensions aren’t a major concern. However, it can be quite a hassle to maintain your eyelash extensions while suffering from this condition.
Excessive tearing is one of the most common symptoms of glaucoma. These tears can wash away the glue that is used to attach individual eyelashes and eyelash strips. If you’re wearing strip lashes, then you’ll find yourself having to constantly reapply them throughout the day.
If you’re having individual eyelash extensions applied by an esthetician, the excessive tearing that accompanies glaucoma can disrupt the application process. Tears can make it difficult for the eyelashes to stay in place. You’re also required to keep your eyes as dry as possible during the 24–48 hours that it takes for the glue to dry. This is very difficult to do if you have watery eyes due to glaucoma.
Glaucoma treatments and eyelash growth: Latisse
If you suffer from glaucoma and you enjoy the look of long, voluminous eyelashes, then there’s good news: the growth of longer eyelashes is a side effect of many glaucoma treatments. This means that if you’re currently using a glaucoma treatment, then you probably don’t need eyelash extensions.
This side effect is so prominent that the most trusted FDA-approved and clinically tested eyelash growth treatment, Latisse, was created from the glaucoma treatment, Lumigan. Latisse thickens, lengthens, and darkens the eyelashes by extending their growth phase. It’s a much easier and more convenient option for longer, fuller lashes than falsies and eyelash extensions. The effects of Latisse are also more long-lasting.
Participants in a clinical study involving Latisse experienced:
- A 25% increase in eyelash length
- A 106% increase in eyelash volume and thickness
- An 18% increase in eyelash darkness
It’s important to note that this treatment can lower eye pressure, so if you’re already taking a medication for glaucoma, then you should talk to to your eye doctor before using Latisse. Since the growth of longer eyelashes is a common side effect of many glaucoma treatments, you may not need Latisse if you’re taking another glaucoma medication.
Is Latisse safe for those who don’t have glaucoma?
It’s always best to consult with your doctor before beginning any type of treatment. That being said, it’s perfectly fine to use Latisse if you don’t have glaucoma. Even though Latisse was developed from a glaucoma medication, it is not a treatment option for the condition. In fact, using Latisse is actually more risky for those who have glaucoma.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, this treatment is generally safe for most people with healthy eyes. Latisse has been safely used as an eyelash growth treatment for over ten years.
If you want longer, fuller eyelashes, our clinicians here at Alpha can help you determine if Latisse is a good option for you. Start your consultation today!