People tend to associate long, luscious eye lashes with beauty – and it’s certainly not a fact that’s lost on the beauty industry. The total beauty market stands at £17 billion, with people now spending up to £120 a month for just eyelash extensions alone. Whilst some may see this as a vanity trend, in fact many people do feel self-conscious and unhappy with their eyelashes. There are also certain factors that may affect the strength and length of eye lashes including ageing, some cancer treatment and an impulsive control disorder called Trichotillomania which causes people to pull out all their eyelashes.
Well, what if there was a way to supercharge your own natural eyelashes to make them grow longer, thicker and more curled? A product called PGA (prostaglandin analogue) claims to do just this! The controversial eyelash-enhancing treatment was launched in the US in 2008 and in recent years has become available in the UK.With plenty of celebrity ambassadors singing its praises and happy customers reporting their lashes had grown so long they had to trim them, it is time to review all the facts so that people can make an informed choice about the eye lash treatment.We ask Daniel Ezra, Ophthalmologist and OculoFacial Plastic Surgeon at world renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital if the treatment is safe and what are the risks?
Yes, the treatment absolutely does work to enhance your lashes. All the patients who have had the treatment at my practice have noticed an increase in length and sometimes an increase in thickness and darkness. If you are attempting to apply the solution yourself, please remember to remove any makeup or contact lenses so that it can absorb into the skin at the base of the upper lash line. I would recommend using the treatment for at least 8-10 weeks to get full growth and thickening of the lashes.
PGA is actually a version of a glaucoma drug in eye drop form called bimatoprost and was approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for eyelash growth in 2008 so it’s deemed safe for most adults. However, you may not be a candidate for it if you have certain eye problems such as cataracts, conjunctivitis or skin infections of the upper eyelids.
It’s very important that women seek advice from an experienced ophthalmologist, who can carry out a detailed examination and rule out any risk of eye colour change (the treatment is totally safe, but can darken blue irises or green irises, but has less of an effect on or brown eyes). Other complications can also include a hollowing effect around the eyes, so its essential that you have an opinion from a specialist before commencing treatment.
The solution is not for everyone, and it is a prescription medication, so you need to talk to a doctor who can prescribe it. In general, if you have healthy eyes (i.e., no glaucoma or infections), it is safe to use. If you develop eye or eyelid irritation or eyelid discoloration, stop the product and call your doctor.
The beauty of the treatment is its simplicity. After an initial treatment in clinic, bottled drops are administered via an applicator, very much like a mascara wand. The treatment is easy to use at home, once a day, every day on a regular basis.The treatment also offers a much more permanent solution to mascara and false lashes, which must be removed and reapplied each day, and dyes which gradually fade away over time.
In my practice, I find that most patients begin to see results after approximately 2-3 weeks of using PGA each night, with optimal results occurring at week 12. Used regularly, thicker, fuller lash growth will continue for as long as the product is used. However, if a patient discontinues the use of PGA, they should expect their lashes to return to their original length and thickness within 8-12 weeks.