The Risks Of Changing Your Eye Color
It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since singer and Xcape member, Tameka “Tiny” Harris had undergone a procedure to turn her original eye color to a permanent “ice grey” hue. The wife of rapper/actor T.I., made the announcement on her Instagram in a post (which has been since been taken down), writing:
“I permanently changed my eye color with Brightocular and loving it! Thank you Dr. Montasser Menif for the amazing experience and for making my dream come true…”
But that “dream come true” could mean a nightmare for your eyesight if you’re not careful.
Eye color is determined by the iris, a colored ring of muscle fibers behind the clear cornea and in front of the lens. Iris implants are marketed on the Internet as a safe way to change your eye color, but studies of people who’ve had the procedure show iris implants can seriously damage eyes and vision. In one case, a patient lost most of her natural irises in both eyes. As a result, she suffered severe light sensitivity and lost much of her vision.
“Some online discussions say the procedure is safe, claiming that ‘the technology used is similar to that used to treat cataracts’; this is inaccurate as well as misleading,” says ophthalmologist James Tsai, MD, a glaucoma specialist at Yale University who has led research on iris implants. “We strongly caution people against having cosmetic iris implant surgery.”
During iris-implant surgery, an artificial iris made of silicone is folded and inserted into a slit that has been cut into the cornea. Then the iris is unfolded and adjusted to cover the natural iris. Local anesthesia is used.
Here’s What You Need to Know
Studies show that serious complications of the iris-implant procedure can include:
- Reduced vision or blindness
- Elevated pressure inside the eye that can lead to glaucoma, a potentially blinding disease
- Cataract (clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens)
- Injury to the cornea, the clear outer area of the eye that focuses light and makes vision possible. If severe enough, a corneal transplant may be needed
- Inflammation of the iris or areas around it, leading to pain, blurred vision and…
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