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Can You Turn Your Blue Eyes Brown?

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A woman can never be too skinny unless it's her eyelashes. Until now, those so deprived had only
mascara, "falsies" to glue on and potions that made promises. Now lash-lean women are beating a path to the dermatologist office asking for "Latisse." You probably heard all about it in the flurry of press around the first of the year. But you may not have paid close enough attention for this nagging question. Can it turn your blue eyes brown? Read on.

Available through prescription only, "Latisse" is the first drug to be green-lighted by the Food and Drug Administration to promote eyelash growth. "Patients are asking for it in droves," says New York Dermatologist, Dr. Debra Jaliman, an assistant clinical professor at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, with a practice on 5th Avenue.

Latisse comes from the glaucoma drug Lumigan, made by Allergan of Irvine, California.(latisse.com)
Doctors noticed patients who used Lumigan eye drops to treat glaucoma symptoms developed longer, thicker and darker lashes. "Lumigan can turn your blue eyes brown," says ophthalmologist Dr. Sandra Belmont, associate professor of Ophthalmology at NYU. "I have seen light irises become darkened," attests Belmont.

Does the same hold true for the Lumigan derivitive Latisse? "Iris pigmentation was not reported in clinical studies with Latisse," according to Caroline Van Hove, vice president of corporate communications for Allergan. "Yet patients should be advised about the potential for increased brown iris pigmentation, which could be permanent," says Van Hove. "Iris pigmentation change, though rare, less than 1%, was a reported effect in Lumigan studies, adds Van Hove.

How does the consumer interpret this one? Is it yes or no? Blue or brown? According to Van Hove this is how things weigh in. Latisse is 5% of the strength of Lumigan and is not applied directly to the eye, but to the lashes. On the other hand, Lumigan is dropped directly on the eye. Even with Lumigan, "there is no evidence of blue eyes turning brown, but of brown and other colors getting darker," says Van Hove.

Don't blink yet. "Will Latisse have some effect on color with sustained use over the long term?" questions Belmont. The problem with even a less than 1% maybe, maybe not chance is the color shift would be PERMANENT.

There are other reported side effects, which are annoying, but not nearly so devastating, such as itchiness in 4% of the patients and temporary darkening of the eyelid skin. Allergan encourages patients experiencing negative reactions to report them to the FDA. (fda.gov)
Before spending $120 on a Latisse kit, consult your physician, especially if you have any eye pressure problems. Remember glaucoma drug.

Lastly, while not approved for eyebrows, anecdotal information from Latisse users indicates it works on the brows too and you don't have to worry about turning blue ones brown, even a little bit.
(If you want to check out more of my stories go to nbcnewyork.com)

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