But these side effects don't always occur and may disappear if the drug is discontinued, Whitcup said. Also, the bimatoprost concentration in Latisse is significantly less than that of Lumigan and instead of being put directly on the eye, it is applied to the base of the lashes.
Bimatoprost reduces pressure within the eye to prevent optic nerve damage in glaucoma patients, but doctors say small quantities of the drug should not be a problem for the normal eye.
"We can all live with a little lower pressure," said Dr. Andrea Thau, a spokeswoman for the American Optometric Association and associate professor at the SUNY State College of Optometry. "[Bimatoprost] has an excellent safety profile."
Still, the eyelash-enhancing effects of Latisse is not permanent. Because the drug works by keeping hairs in their growth phase -- the phase during which hairs become longer, thicker and darker -- lashes return to their normal, genetically determined length within a few months after discontinuing the drug.
And, at $120 for a 30-day supply, Latisse is not cheap.
But some say that in the current economic climate, a noninvasive enhancer like Latisse could be far more desirable to those who want to invest in beauty treatments than more expensive, more dangerous surgical procedures such as liposuction or other cosmetic surgeries.
"Regardless of the economy, people still want to look their best," said Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth, director of plastic surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He noted that people could be concerned about paying for expensive surgical procedures if they have a heavy mortgage or have little job security and can't take the time off.
Catron plans on making room in her budget for Latisse treatments when it becomes available to consumers early next year.
"What girls don't want more?" she said.