Glaucoma Drug Might Grow Lashes, Or Turn Your Blue Eyes Brown

Latisse, a new drug that promises longer, fuller lashes, started out as Lumigan, a glaucoma drug. Now’s been approved by the FDA to treat “inadequate” eyelashes, but there are some pretty crazy possible side effects. Like permanent changes to your eye color.

Our sister-publication Consumer Reports Health has this to say about Latisse:

If you go to the Latisse Web site you’ll see an eye as blue as a tropical sea, surrounded by lush, palm-tree-like eyelashes. But that Caribbean-blue iris could change to dark brown in patients using the drug. Some people could see a permanent change in the color of their eyes, with lighter greens and blues turning to darker browns.

And then there’s the possibility of a permanently darkened eyelid. We are concerned that the Latisse trial included too few African-Americans, who may be especially prone to this side effect. And it can cause itchy, red eyes in a significant number of users.

We’re also worried that the people using Latisse for cosmetic reasons could be less likely than users of Lumigan to use the medication as directed. Might some people apply more than necessary in an effort to get even longer eyelashes? If so, it might exacerbate some of the cosmetic side effects that appeared in the drug’s trials.

And then of course, there’s the possibility that using Latisse for cosmetic reasons might mask the symptoms of glaucoma — causing the disease to go undiagnosed.

Drug promises fuller lashes, but at what cost? [CR Health]

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  1. battra92 says:

    Don’t it make Crystal Gayle’s brown eyes blue?

  2. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    My mom (little did I know until I visited in September) has glaucoma and is on this drug. The only way I found out was by commenting on her absolutely astonishing eyelashes. “Oh, right. That’s a side effect of the glaucoma medication I’m on. I sometimes have to trim my lashes, because they actually get too long.” She had these incredible, long, lush lashes that are simply amazing.

    Mind you, I’m NOT in favor of going on a drug such as this only for the cosmetic benefits, but I can say that if you are a woman with glaucoma there at least may be an up-side for you on this drug.

  3. lannister80 says:

    Yep. I’m ~30 years old and have high eye pressure. I was offered this and one other drug, and I chose the other because I didn’t want to darken my eyes permanently. They’re already brown enough, thank you very much.

  4. JulesNoctambule says:

    What if my eyes are brown already? Will I get wickedly dark, seemingly pupil-less eyes? And is it wrong if that kind of side effect appeals to me?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @JulesNoctambule: If you’re wrong then so am I because I had that thought too.

      However, I can imagine it would get old having strangers freak out over your eyes.

    • HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

      @JulesNoctambule: If wanting freaky eyes is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    • Petra says:

      @JulesNoctambule: My husband’s eyes are so dark brown that unless he’s outside in the sunlight, they usually look black, and I think it’s pretty darn awesome.

    • TVarmy says:

      @JulesNoctambule: Aren’t there contacts that can do that effect? Besides, it’d be reversible if you come to think jet black eyes are kinda creepy. Plus, you wouldn’t have to worry about centering them perfectly (I can’t be the only person who hated how Brent Spinner always put the yellow contacts on slightly off center as Data in ST: TNG).

  5. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    @JulesNoctambule: I wouldn’t mind that myself. But seriously, people take drugs to make their eyelashes longer? Isn’t that what mascara is good for?

    • Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

      @h3llc4t: For my mom, it not only made her lashes longer, but less sparse. She literally had more lashes. Mascara can’t do that.

      But again, I do NOT think it’s a dandy idea to start taking drugs for any reason other than medical necessity. It was just a nice, non-harmful side-effect for my mom (who still has hazel eyes; no marked change).

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @h3llc4t: I know someone who has virtually no eye lashes at all. I could see them considering this if only to keep stuff from getting in their eyes but I think the darkened lid side effect would put them off.

    • floraposte says:

      @h3llc4t: We’re talking a world where people have gotten eyeliner permanently tattooed on. This seems pretty much on a par.

      • DidSomeoneSayCookie? says:

        @floraposte: a friend of mine had eyeliner tattooed on her lids years ago; it didn’t take long to start degrading, I’m not sure how though. It looked kind of “clotted” and like a fat dotted line instead of the clean line she wanted. Not good. But then again, duh.

  6. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I find that if I have an eye lash that gets very long it tends to flip and point downwards. I end up getting stabbed in the eye by my own eye lash. Not fun.

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    Van Morrison is chuckling right now.

  8. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    Want fuller, sexier lips? Ask your doctor about Jolieprazam ™ by GlaxoSmithKline!*

    *Jolieprazam side effects include; itchy rash, diarrhea, loss of appetite, bisexual tendencies, marriage to guys named “Billy Bob” and a compulsion to adopt 3rd world orphans. Call a doctor if you develop an inappropriate sexual attraction to your brother.

  9. David Eckert says:

    Totally awesome if you’re trying to go off the grid. “Our suspect as blue eyes.” “Blue? That’s not me!” ;)

  10. Chairman-Meow says:

    I dunno about you folks, but that eye reminds me of Eyebrows McGee !

  11. Wireless Joe says:

    If it changes eye color,I’m just going to use it in one eye and be like Bowie.

  12. Homerjay loves stars. :) says:

    If this turns your blue eyes brown you can just follow the direction in that old Crystal Gayle song- Donut’s Make My Brown Eyes Blue.

    Just go right ahead and gorge yourself.

  13. nakedscience says:

    Or you could just smoke some green (for glaucoma). :D

  14. SteelersAreGo says:

    I would be really depressed if my blue eyes turned brown. Let’s not kid around, brown-eyed folk are second-class citizens in this country.

  15. quizmasterchris says:

    It’s cheaper for the drug industry to get approval for new uses for old drugs than to develop new drugs. We get a lot of side effects pushed as primary benefits as a result.

    Of course then sometimes you have to concoct a syndrome for the side effect to tackle. “Good lord, woman, you suffer from Thin Lash Syndrome!”

  16. Admiral_John says:

    Really?

    There’s a prescription medication that has a prescribed usage of making your eyelashes longer?

    And people take it just for that purpose?

    … amazing.

  17. enriquez the water bottle says:

    I worked in the eye care industry for a while, and was always freaked out about the eyelash/eye color thing from Lumigan.

    And now they’re marketing it as an eyelash enhancer. Beautiful.

    Olestra made your butt leak. Maybe they should make it a laxative.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I was on Lumigan for many years – over 10 – and it caused my eyelashes to grow quite long. Being a guy, I was not pleased. At one point my opthomalogist had to trim them. Fortunately, since I’m brown-eyed, my eye color did not change.

    FWIW, it really helped with my high optical pressures.

  19. caranguejo says:

    I worked as an ophthalmic tech for quite a while. If a patient was on Lumigan, they needed to be constantly monitored to make sure there were no changes in their intra-ocular pressure. I find it hilarious that Allergan is even attempting to market this drug as such. It’s kind of like kicking the door wide open to a flood of lawsuits. Glaucoma patients could rarely use this medication according to schedule, so you bet your boots people are going to abuse the hell out of this to get movie star style lashes and end up with a smorgasbord of problems.

  20. Robobot says:

    So after you shell out for the glaucoma drug, you may have to buy colored contacts and pot after pot of industrial strength concealer? In the long run it’s probably cheaper to just get eyelash extensions.

    I’m all for artificial beautification and pretty eyelashes, but this is nuts.

  21. funkfrost says:

    I have Trichotillomania, I pull out my eyelashes. Over the years I have damaged them rather much, and they are much shorter, and thinner.

    Kinda makes me want to take it to get back the lashes I had before, but I have blue eyes, and I prefer for them to stay that way.

  22. rockasocky says:

    So, would a permanently darkened eyelid look a lot like eyeliner/eyeshadow? And what about us Asian folk who have, um, ambiguous eyelids? I demand a definition of “darkened” and “eyelid.”

  23. JulesNoctambule says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: But just think of how much you’d disturb the rude people if you stared at them long enough!

  24. The Porkchop Express says:

    What happens if you don’t need this for the glaucoma though? if the pressure in your eye can cause them to bug out….can’t this make them sink in?

    Maybe that’s really what’s happening, peoples’ eyes are shrinking and it makes the lashes look longer.

    just think of all those beady, now brown eyes.

  25. Rebecca Brown says:

    I have trichotillomania too, and my mom suggested I might go on this drug. Thanks, Consumerist!

  26. Azim M says:

    Of course! take drugs for vanity! who cares about health? bleh!

    Seriously though, another sign that our society is jacked up,
    i however would never need such a drug, my eyes are very dark brown and i have so many eye lashes i am literally yanking some out every day with my fingers….i guess it just comes with being brown and hairy….

  27. Sean Gamble says:

    Am I the only one who fails to see the big deal (Other than using a glaucoma med for cosmetic purposes… so vain) alot of ophthalmic drugs can do that.

    and my left eye always changes from brown to hazel to emerald gree to this pastel green color, anyway. but that occours natrually so thats a bit off topic..lol

  28. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I can’t see the issue about having your eye color change – I know so many people who wear colored contacts anyway.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I am a dude and am on a similar -prost drug (travatan) for glaucoma. I have NEVER been give complements about my Fing long lashes. The side eff about darkening eyes is only if you have low melanin in your iris (e.g. blue or green? eyes) and it will make then brown like those that brown-eyed people have. not black. you will not look like hypno toad.

    One other side effect is that no one has mentioned yet is that it causes red eye (ocular hyperemia) in 30-50% of the people taking my drug. I basically look high a few hours during the day.

    A possibly more serious side effect is retinal detachment if the drug lowers your eyeball pressure too much, but it would have to be super low for that to happen.

    FYI: This is how this works. Everyone makes liquid which blows up your eyeball like a tire.The liquid is also continually draining out. So there is a balance of production and drainage. People with glaucoma either make to much or can drain it very well and their eyeball pressures are too high that then damages the weak optic nerve in the back of the eye. This class of drugs lower intraocular pressure and get you back to normal.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I am a dude and am on a similar -prost drug (travatan) for glaucoma. I have NEVER been give complements about my Fing long lashes. The side eff about darkening eyes is only if you have low melanin in your iris (e.g. blue or green? eyes) and it will make then brown like those that brown-eyed people have. not black. you will not look like hypno toad.

    One other side effect is that no one has mentioned yet is that it causes red eye (ocular hyperemia) in 30-50% of the people taking my drug. I basically look high a few hours during the day.

    A possibly more serious side effect is retinal detachment if the drug lowers your eyeball pressure too much, but it would have to be super low for that to happen.

    FYI: This is how this works. Everyone makes liquid which blows up your eyeball like a tire.The liquid is also continually draining out. So there is a balance of production and drainage. People with glaucoma either make to much or can drain it very well and their eyeball pressures are too high that then damages the weak optic nerve in the back of the eye. This class of drugs lower intraocular pressure and get you back to normal.

  31. Anonymous says:

    As someone who must use a similar eye-drop daily (xalatan) in order to maintain normal IOP, I can tell you emphatically that the other side effects outweigh any benefit of thicker eyelashes. In fact, my eyelashes have not been affected at all:

    dry eyes
    burning eyes
    bloodshot eyes
    thinned eyelid skin
    dark circles
    sensitivity to sunlight

    I pretty much look like I am stoned all the time, without the benefit of altered state. If you put these drops in your eyes for thicker lashes, you are a moron and you should be laughed at and publicly humiliated.

  32. ElizabethD says:

    Aww, the pic made me think that this post was gonna be about our own Eyebrows McGee. ;-)

  33. Optimistic Prime says:

    What really sucks is Lumigan is crazy expensive, more than $70 a bottle. This is just a way to keep the price artificially high as it won’t go generic until the “new use” is so many years old. Do I forgo eating for a week a month or go blind… Those are my options.

  34. Cary says:

    Are you sure it’s the drug and not just constipation?

  35. kyle4 says:

    I took a medication that made me grow longer lashes that had nothing to do with it. I’m a man. I actually am trying to figure out in which way can I shorten them because they look feminine.

  36. chandler in lasvegas says:

    My mom has a severe case of Vitiligo. She is as pink as a white haired lab rat. After six months on Lumigen, she had long BLACK lashes again. It is as if the Lumigen repairs the telomeres and counteracts the hydrogen peroxide cycle concerning melanin. Theoretically it should be tested on the REST of the head. No wonder it changes eye color blue.

  37. chandler in lasvegas says:

    …eye color brown.