Soon, however, cosmetic procedures might find their way into the field of ophthalmology, changing the way we see eye care forever.
According to CBS News, a scientist in California has developed a relatively simple, but expensive (the cost is estimated at $5,000!) procedure that turns changes brown eyes to blue.
The procedure uses a finely tuned laser to actually destroy the brown pigment in the iris, which is the part of the eye that has color. Scientists say the procedure takes only 20 seconds, and the patient’s eye color will gradually transform into blue over a period of two to three weeks following the initial zap.
Due to the success of laser eye surgery, similar procedures are currently being developed to treat common eye conditions like cataracts and diabetic retinopathy as well.
Nevertheless, it’s still hard not to be weary of the most recent laser eye color-changing procedure.
Even Stroma Medical’s CEO, Doug Daniels found the idea to be a bit off. He told MSNBC, “I was very skeptical, frankly, but I learned a long time ago that all the great ideas start out as blasphemy.”
Dr. Gregg Homer, of California-based Stroma Medical (the company developing the procedure) told KLTA that he’s convinced this color-changing procedure doesn’t affect eyesight.
He did mention that the color change is irreversible though, so patients would have to be prepared to live forever with their new blue eyes.
While Dr. Homer may be confident in this new technique, other experts aren’t so sure.
Dr. Elmer Tu, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and spokesman for the American College of Ophthalmology shared his expert opinion with CBS News.
While he agreed the procedure concept made sense, he had some concerns about the possible risks and side effects of the cosmetic eye procedure.
Dr. Tu explained, “Theoretically, it’s possible if you go in and laser the eye to release the pigment that causes brown eyes.”
But he also added that the brown pigment “has to go somewhere”, which means the procedure does have the potential to cause a type of blindness called pigmentary glaucoma.
For the sake of improving vision, it’s easy to see why laser eye surgery is popular, but the same can’t be said for this new blue eye laser procedure.
Still, eye care experts believe that this new technique will cause a lot of hype, especially among those who like to wear blue colored contacts for cosmetic enhancement.
Doug Daniels told MSNBC, “Nineteen million people wear colored contact lenses, but light-colored contacts on dark eyes look unnatural and the wearer can’t see as well.”
Dr. Homer said this new technique needs to go through testing for another year, and it could be available outside the United States in the next 18 months. The procedure is expected to make its debut in the United States within three years.
For patients interested in this color-changing procedure, it’s probably best to not get too excited, as the procedure still needs to complete clinical trials on humans.
Although Stroma Medical does have a website about the procedure, there’s no information available to consumers at this time.
Daniels explained, “We don’t want to get expectations up until we’re closer to market.”
It looks like for now, people will just have to stick with their standard colored contacts.
However, Dr. Tu warns that colored contacts also come with their fair share of risks, including blindness and serious infections. If purchased from a licensed ophthalmologist, however, colored contacts are generally safe, if not worn for extended periods of time.
This article was written by the medical research team at WhereismyDoctor.com
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