Frequently we encounter questions from our patients about the various eye treatments available for cosmetic purposes. In this article we will cover three common treatments –Latisse®, permanent eyeliner and eyelash extensions.
Latisse® is a relatively new product, used to stimulate eyelash growth. It is applied directly to the upper eyelash area on a nightly basis, with results (longer, thicker eyelashes) in two to three months. Latisse® actually belongs in a category of medications used to treat glaucoma, and therefore may have side effects of lowering the pressure within the eyes. In addition, this type of drug has been shown to darken the color of the iris over time. Other side effects include red eyes and itchiness (due to allergies to the drug) and it should not be used by pregnant or nursing women. Latisse® is a prescription drug and those that take it must be regularly monitored by an eye doctor.
Permanent eyeliner is actually a tattoo that is injected with a needle beneath the skin. This procedure is not recommended by our eye doctors due to the risk for injury to the eye during the procedure, the risk of scarring and allergic side effects that may cause redness or swelling. A few years ago there was a problem with specific shades of ink that were associated with higher levels of adverse effects.
Eyelash extensions are applied directly to the eyelashes with an adhesive. They range from the do-it-yourself kits you can get from the pharmacy to semi-permanent professionally applied products. The application process puts your eye health at risk due to injury. Red, itchy and irritated eyes may develop from the adhesive that is used, and make the eye more vulnerable to eye infections, which in their most severe form can permanently affect vision. There is also evidence that the regular use of eyelash extensions may permanently weaken the hair follicles, causing damage to the eyelashes and permanent eyelash loss. For these reasons our doctors do not recommend eyelash extensions.