To start with, I want to thank my well-wishers.
I was examined by my ophthalmologist yesterday and she told me that my right eye’s pressure was still at 26, the same as it was a week earlier. Frankly, I was more worried that it was going to shoot up again to 37, the reading that led to emergency laser surgery.
The left eye was in better shape at 21, the high point of a bell curve that starts with 12. If you are within this range, you are okay. Of course, the left eye has a worse cataract than the right so I am not out of the woods.
She prescribed Xalatan for my right eye. This is taken through an eyedropper and is the most widely prescribed medication for glaucoma.
I also learned, although I am sure that they told me about this before, that I had closed angle glaucoma. If you are thinking in terms of geometry, you might be confused as I was initially. The term angle, however, refers to the part of the eye next to the iris that is used to drain fluids from within the eye. If it is closed, the chances of serious damage are greater. So they generally use lasers to drill a hole to drain off the fluids. If the laser treatment is inadequate, they prescribe something like Xalatan. In any case, as long as I take the drops I should be okay.
But without that loose screw, who knows what would have happened. Shudder.
There might be some nice side-effects from Xalatan, by the way. They make your eyelashes grow! So I might look like the young Elizabeth Taylor at some point. So effective is the medication that they have adapted it for cosmetic purposes. If you’ve seen the Latisse ads on television, you’ll know what I’m talking about. This clip refers to a product called Lumigan which has the same ingredient as Xalatan.
Wall Street Journal December 26, 2008, 12:32 PM ET
Want Longer, Fuller Eyelashes? There’s a Drug for That!
You thought there was a drug for everything. But — at least until today — there wasn’t.
Allergan said today that the FDA has approved its drug Latisse for “hypotrichosis of the eyelashes.” The company, which also sells Botox, helpfully explains that this is “another name for having inadequate or not enough eyelashes.” It’s a prescription drug that’s applied daily.
As the WSJ notes, Latisse is the same compound the company sells under the brand name Lumigan to treat glaucoma, an eye disease. They noticed during clinical trials that one of the drug’s side effects was making eyelashes longer, thicker and darker.
Some more research, an FDA panel and a new cosmetic drug is born.
Bonus Lash: Earlier this year, a California entrepreneur raised the ire of Allergan and the FDA for selling an eyelash enhancer that contained an ingredient similar to the active compound in Lumigan.