We live in a society which puts a lot of pressure on looks. Women especially, are always looking for new ways to make themselves look more attractive either by dyeing their hair, wearing make-up or, in some particular extreme cases, plastic surgery. Now there’s another type of aesthetic procedure – a novel laser treatment which can change your eyes’ color. The procedure is permanent and only works for brown to blue eyes.
Behind blue eyes
For the past ten years, Dr. Gregg Homer has been working on his procedure which he claims can change one’s eye color from brown to blue in as little as 20 seconds. The whole process is irreversible and once you decide to go through it, you can’t go back to your original eye color.
The treatment employs a laser which targets melanin, the pigment in the eye responsible for brown color. Before the laser is set, a mask of the iris is projected to make the blue eyes print, after which a specific frequency of electromagnetic radiation is applied to the iris. After the first week of treatment, the eye color turns lighter as the tissue changes its characteristics. In around one to three weeks the blueness appears, until it finally defines itself. Melanin doesn’t regenerate, which is why the procedure in irreversible.
Dr. Homer first began testing the procedure in 2004 on animals, before later on moving to cadavers, and just recently to live patients. His most recent clinical trial included 17 patients who had very short-sided vision, and agreed to take part in exchange for a lens transplant. So far, each procedure was a success, without any kind of problems appearing during or post the operation.
Other eye experts, however, warn that this type of procedure is not without risks. Side effects can include double vision and glare, although these haven’t been reported by Dr. Homer’s patients. From what I’ve gathered, he’s only treated patients in Costa Rica and Mexico, and has yet to get the green light from regulatory bodies in the United States.
“The pigment is there for a reason. If the pigment is lost you can get problems such as glare or double vision,” said Larry Benjamin, a consultant eye surgeon at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in the UK.
“Having no eye pigment would be like having a camera aperture with a transparent blade. You wouldn’t be able to control the light getting in.”
The blue eye cosmetic laser surgery will probably arrive in the US in the next three years, due to the lengthy approval necessary for medical treatments. Stroma Medical believes the treatment will be popular, after its survey of 2,500 people suggested 17% of Americans would do it if they knew it was completely safe. A further 35% would seriously consider it.
Only 17% of all people have blue eyes. Paul Newman’s piercing eyes or the steely gaze of Daniel Craig, have arguably helped them a great deal in becoming famous – of course, their acting playing an important role as well. What’s certain is that most people are eerily fascinated by blue eyes. Some evolutionary psychologists say blue-eyed humans living in the Paleolithic had a better chance of standing out and thus had more mating opportunities. Others posit that being lighter, pupil dilation – an attraction enhancer – is easier to notice.
Undoubtedly, like plastic surgery, Dr. Homer’s treatment will become a popular cosmetic trend, if it proves to be safe enough. I, for one, intend on keeping my brown eyes until they’re wide shut.