Not up for wearing contact lenses and yet craving baby blue eyes, now modern medicine can do that for you. Yup, a few 20 second treatments with a special laser can sweep the brown pigment out of your iris revealing piercing blue eyes in just under two weeks. The big catch is - the procedure is relatively new, side effects not widely studied and the results are irreversible and permanent. It will take few years to get the safety studies conducted and published, but despite all that it’s a major break through in aesthetic medicine and a remarkable choice to have — permanently blue eyed, oh boy!
The anatomical reality of our peepers is that under every brown eye there is a blue hidden, the only difference between a brown eye and a blue eye is a very thin layer of pigment on the surface. If we take that pigment away, then the light as it enters the stroma and gets scattered, it’d only reflect back the shortest of wavelengths and that's the blue end of the spectrum — just like the ocean.
A California-based company Strōma Medical is investigating this melanin-targeting laser technology to break down pigment on the outer layers of the iris to deliver permanent blue eyes. So far, just 17 patients in Mexico and 20 in Costa Rica have undergone the treatment with on long term side effects reported. Clinical trials are being conducted outside USA as FDA clearance is still pending.
In Spain NewEyes Laser of EYECOS has been offering the procedure to the public for two years now. They claim that the laser treatment for rinsing eye color is a safe treatment and has been performed in more than 300 cases of people from more than 30 countries worldwide.
One unique factor that separates NewEyes Laser from Strōma Laser is that New Eyes in Spain has been offering its clientele a choice of hazel and green in addition to the blue color to choose from, while Stroma is only promising the bluest of the blue.
How Does The Treatment Work?
The basic idea has been borrowed from aesthetic doctors who use lasers to remove excess pigmentation from the skin. In the case of changing eye color, simply removing the brown pigment is enough to do the trick because as we know now that blue eyes are not blue at all, just as the sea is not full of blue water — it’s a trick of perception caused by scattered light. A blue iris is simply an iris without color.
What’s Stopping The Procedure To Be Worldwide?
Safety Concerns obviously, the effectiveness of the procedure, which is likely to be irreversible, seems to be proven however, the jury is still out as to whether it will pass the safety tests. Once it gets the FDA safety approval, then major safety questions would be answered and the medical community will have more faith in the procedure to back it up.
So far ophthalmologists have voiced glaucoma and cataracts as a risk factors with such a treatment. The laser companies working on the pre-clinical trial and early clinical trials are confident so far that such lasers will not do harm because of the low energy used and the fine particle size of the broken up pigment but, when it comes to one's eyesight, there is no room for assumptions.
The biggest concern raised by most ophthalmologists has been breaking the pigment and releasing pigment inside the eye — the pigment potentially can clog up the normal drainage channels which can in turn cause the pressure inside the eye to rise up. If that happens significantly enough, for long enough, you can develop glaucoma after such an intervention. To answer this concern Stroma Medical has claimed that the particles released by the process are too fine to cause glaucoma and that any complications were likely to be short-term and easily remedied — but a risk still remains. Theory has some sense to it, but without seeing long-term outcomes and without seeing a big cohort of patients that have been treated in this way most ophthalmologists are sitting on the fence and are not backing the laser generated blue eyes yet.
Just in case you were wondering how much does it cost to turn those brown eyes into that piercing blue gaze, Stroma Medical is currently charging around $5,000 (£3,120) for the procedure. NewEyes Laser is offering it for €2,000.