Eyelash growth fuels Latisse drug sales

An eye drop similar to one used for glaucoma treatment has grown in popularity thanks to the effect it has on the volume and length of eyelashes.

Doctors debate cosmetic benefits and side effects of Latisse eye drop

Glaucoma drug side-effect becomes a desirable commodity for some women. 2:16

Sales of an eye drop prescription also used to treat disease have jumped, according to one Ottawa doctor, due to the cosmetic effects of the drug.

Latisse, which claims to double the length and volume of eyelashes, is similar to eye drops used to treat glaucoma, an eye disease that can cause blindness.

The drug was first made public when it was used to treat glaucoma. Researchers noticed people tended to grow longer and fuller eyelashes.

Dr. David Jordan, who uses the eye drop himself, says his sales of the drug have gone up by 40 per cent in less than two years. (CBC)

Now many people are not blinking at the $120 cost for the drug to bat some larger lashes. One doctor told CBC News sales of the eye drop have gone up 40 per cent in under two years.

"They say the eyes are the window on the soul," said Dr. David Jordan, an Ottawa ophthalmologist who is one of 25 in the area to prescribe Latisse.

"Thicker, darker eyelashes are a sign of beauty, look back at Cleopatra."

Side effects include redness, irritation

Jordan,. who also uses Latisse for his lashes, added many patients use Latisse with other cosmetic services for their eye area, including Botox and some soft-tissue filler.

Another Ottawa doctor who does not prescribe Latisse said the drug might grow your eyelashes, but the side effects are similar to the glaucoma medication.

Those side effects include redness, irritation, itching, eyelid swelling and pigmentation and change in iris colour, he said.

Ottawa resident Liz Barrett said her eyelashes looked amazing and long when she first used the eye drops. But after four months, they were more brittle, thinning and falling out. She stopped using the medication.

But Dr. Jordan argued he has not seen those side effects in his patients or any other severe side effects from Latisse.