New surgery claims to turn brown eyes blue

Kate Bosworth was born with heterochromia so she has one blue eye and one brown eye—the best of both worlds. Photo by Getty ImagesKate Bosworth was born with heterochromia so she has one blue eye and one brown eye—the …

In the never-ending quest for vanity, one surgeon in Laguna Beach, California think he’s found a way to turn brown eyes blue. After 10 years of research Dr. Gregg Homer of Stroma Medical says he’s discovered that brown pigment can be removed from the surface of the iris with a laser leaving the rarer blue pigment underneath. Dr. Homer told KTLA that the body expels the altered tissue and changing brown eyes to blue ones within two to three weeks.

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Thus far Dr. Homer says tests have shown no signs of tissue damage, but naturally there could be negative side effects that have are yet undetected. While he still has about a year of research remaining, he expects the procedure will be available outside the US in 18 months, and in the US within three years. The 20-second laser surgery will cost around $5,000. Apparently “thousands” of people have emailed Dr. Homer expressing interest in the iris transformation.

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Since this sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, we contacted Dr. Conswalla Shavers, a surgeon at Park Avenue Lasek in New York City, for a little medical insight. She laughed at the description of this procedure and said it was unnecessarily dangerous with many potential side effects. “I’d imagine that the risks would outweigh the benefits in a patient,” she said. “It could release too much pigment into the anterior chamber that can clog up the draining system in the eye. This makes the pressure go up and causes glaucoma.”

Is the prospect of blue eyes worth permanent vision damage? We think not. And Dr. Shavers says there’s no guarantee you’ll even end up with baby blues. “What’s to ensure there’s definitely blue pigment underneath? You could remove brown pigmentation and there’s just more brown pigmentation underneath.” Blue eyes are a recessive trait, but even if your parents are carriers there’s no way of knowing what shade, if any, lies at the bottom of the iris. That said, Dr. Shavers isn’t all that surprised by the procedure or that people are taking an interest in it. “When it comes to vanity there’s nothing you wouldn’t put  past the human condition,” she said.

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Bottom line: Dr. Shavers doesn’t believe the procedure is worth it and she’d never consider performing it herself. “Colored contact lenses would be far less risky. You wont have any potential side effects and it will guarantee the color.”


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