Eye Matters
October 8, 2013

How can I get my eyelashes to grow longer and thicker?

Dear Dr Onu,

I have very short eyelashes. Recently I heard about a drug that promotes longer eyelashes. What is it and where can I purchase it?


Dear Maybine,

Thank you for the question. I believe you are referring to Latisse, a prescription drug used to grow longer and thicker eyelashes. It is not unusual for pharmaceutical companies to find out that a drug originally intended to cure one problem can be utilised to solve another problem. This is a case of one man’s food being another man’s poison.{{more}}

The anti-glaucoma drug Lumigan was designed to lower eye pressure in glaucoma and ocular hypertensive patients. However, Lumigan has several side effects, including eyelash growth and increased pigmentation of the eyelids and the iris.

Due to this observation and especially after ophthalmologists discovered that a lot of women being treated for glaucoma were actually very happy that their eyelashes were growing longer, the company decided to produce a diluted version of Lumigan……and so Latisse was born.

Unlike Lumigan, which comes in eye drop form, Latisse is applied directly to the upper eyelid using a special applicator.

Of course, using Latisse is not without its own risks. Changes in pigmentation and facial hair can be expected.

If your eyes are hazel, they may turn brown and if your eyes are blue, they may turn hazel. So far, scientists have not found a way to reverse the pigmentation. Some complain of itchy, red eyes. The symptoms usually disappear when the drug is discontinued.

Latisse is usually prescribed for patients who suffer from an inadequate amount of eyelashes, a condition called hypotrichosis.

The drug is applied once a day to the upper eyelids and results are usually seen after 8-16 weeks, when new eyelashes grow between the existing ones.

Latisse is recommended for people with hypotrichosis. If one just wants fuller looking eyelashes, then we recommend using mascara. As it a prescription drug, it can only be obtained from a medical practitioner.

Dr Onu

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at
the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us
Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com

Tel: 784 456-1210