If you’ve ever wanted your eyes to be a different color, that technology now exists. Have brown eyes?
Now you can have blue, purple, or any other color that you can think of. The question is whether or not the procedure is safe.
It is almost certainly not necessary. There are very few reasons to change your iris to a different color, and it is difficult to think of a reason why this would be medically necessary.
However, with most procedures, there are pros and cons to the medicine behind it. Like LASIK, it is a step some people take to improve their eyesight that isn’t strictly necessary.
The question is: are iris implants worth the risk? Again, like LASIK, it may just be a way to improve your sight and appearance.
There actually are medical reasons to get your iris replaced. According to BrightOcular, “Medically, it can be used in patients with iris abnormalities such as ocular albinism, coloboma, total/partial aniridia as well as heterochromia and iris atrophy. BrightOcular implants are able decrease photophobia and project the form of a healthy iris for patients with irregular iris appearance.”
Of course, the most popular reason to get this procedure is to change the color of the eyes and prevent the need for colored contact lenses which may cause problems.
The surgery is performed by simply slipping a biocompatible iris over the existing one. Many different types of iris replacements exist, but not all are FDA approved.
However, the materials are FDA approved, and this allows for the surgery to be performed. Although patents have been filed and the FDA is looking into the matter, nothing official has been granted to these companies that insert new irises.
As you may imagine, there are many complications that are known to occur after iris replacement surgery.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “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 tearing.”
When these complications occur, further surgery is necessary to remove the implant, and this surgery itself can lead to further complications with the eye.
In the end, it doesn’t seem like iris implants are worth the risks. If you have certain medical conditions, they may be recommended, but if used for merely cosmetic reasons, they could make a healthy eye suffer.