How can I make my eyelashes look thicker without a lot of mascara?

Dr. Gary S. Hirshfield, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

There are always cosmetics and false eyelashes. However there is one prescription medication that is approved for growing and thickening upper eyelid lashes. This medication is called Latisse and is by prescription only. It is applied daily to the upper eyelid lash line and is very effective. Side effects can include pigmentation of the skin, irritation of the eye and possible masking glaucoma because the measured eye pressure can be lower with the use of Latisse.

Dr. Patricia K. Farris, MD
Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

Latisse™ is a product that is made by the same company that makes Botox Cosmetic™. The active ingredient in Latisse™, bimatoprost, is actually a medication that was originally used to treat glaucoma. Patients who were using the bimatoprost eye drops started reporting that their lashes were longer. As a result of these patient reports, the product was reformulated and tested for use as an eyelash enhancer. The FDA approved Latisse recently and it is available by prescription only.

Nightly application of Latisse™ to the lash-line has been proven to enhance the length, caliber and pigmentation of eyelashes within weeks. The results are gradual and continued use is necessary to maintain the benefits. The product is generally well tolerated although some patients in the studies experienced itching and redness of the eyes. Latisse™ may increase the brown pigmentation of the colored part of the eye, which can be permanent.

If you are using Latisse™ you need to let your ophthalmologist know since this medication can affect intraocular pressure. Latisse™ should not be used without physician supervision in anyone who has eye pressure problems. Latisse™ is available by prescription and may be available for purchase in your physician’s office.

Dr. Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgeon


Cosmetics for growing eyelashes can make your eyelashes thicker. However, there are risks: when you use cosmetics for growing eyelashes and you paint liquid on the eyelid margin where the eyelashes grow, some of the chemical inevitably gets in your eye. If the material is contaminated with bacteria or toxins, your eyes could be injured and your vision could suffer.

Dr. Tamara Fountain
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

There is a new prescription drug, Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.03 percent by Allergan, which was recently approved by the FDA as safe and effective to help lengthen, thicken, and darken eyelashes. It has the same active ingredient, a prostaglandin analog, as a glaucoma drug, Lumigan (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.03 percent, also made by Allergan. It was discovered that one of the side effects of Lumigan is increased eyelash length, darkening, and thickening. Other side effects include eye redness, irritation, and darkening of the skin of the eyelids, all of which are reversible upon cessation of drug. Darkening of the iris has also been reported, and this side effect is not reversible.

The FDA studies show that the most common adverse events (about 3 percent to 4 percent incidence) are itchiness of eyes, redness of eyes, and increased pigmentation. If you have an eye condition, such as glaucoma, macular edema, or eye inflammation, consult with your ophthalmologist or eye doctor before using Latisse.

Closely follow the instructions for use of the drug. If you have any concerns, the easiest thing to do is to see your ophthalmologist who can evaluate you to make sure you are a good candidate for Latisse as well as prescribe it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.