Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Permanent Eye Color Transformation Sparks Concern & Health Debate

Partial pigment removal.
In a brown eye, a thin layer of brown pigment covers the anterior iris, preventing light creating an opaque brown iris; in a blue eye, the Strōma fibers of the iris scatter incoming white light, creating a translucent, blue-gray appearance.
The outcome of the surgery is the removal of the brown stromal pigment and the emergence of the underlying natural blue Strōma.
(Photo courtesy of Strōma)


“We all have blue eyes, underneath our brown iris”, Said Greg Homer, the researcher & inventor of first non-invasive cosmetic surgery that changes eye color from brown to blue permanently. The new technology StrOma, is a painless procedure that transforms dark brown eyes to blue via low-laser surgery, thus lift patient’s reliance from upon colored contact lenses.

Though, it sounds tempting enough to have beautiful blue eyes; eye care professionals have shown their concern by associating the surgery with inflammation, ocular damage & excessive light sensitivity that could be potentially damaging in the long run.

“I have strong concerns that the risks of this procedure will significantly outweigh any real or imagined benefits,” Said Dr. Kamran Riaz, director of refractive surgery in the Department of Ophthalmology & Science at the University of Chicago.  Some doctors are skeptical of such surgeries. Mark Sheldon an ethicist at Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago suggested patients to discriminate between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery where the former is taken to reconstruct the tissues damaged in burns whereas the latter is only advertised in magazines, directly enchasing women’s insecurities. “Surgery should only be undertaken when there is no other choice left”, said Sheldon.

Homer explained that brown eyes are covered by a thin layer of brown pigment that is gradually removed by the strOma laser. Once the front layer of tissues is removed, the natural blue tint appears that takes a period of only 30 seconds. The procedure often leaves a limbal ring (from the darker pigment of the brown) which Homer compares with beautiful hazel green eyes of Sharbat Gula, an Afghan women featured on the cover of National Geographic.

Homer criticizes concealing the brown iris using contact lenses as he expresses it does not exist naturally and looks fake. On the other hand, advocates of contact lenses jump in the discussion by providing a safe, hurdle-free & cost-effective alternative for color transformation in the form of colored lenses. The StrOma treatment is expected to carry a price tag of US$5000 upon hitting the consumer market whereas contact lenses are available for as low as US$ 20.00


Would you like to undergo a strOma surgery or would stick to contact lenses for color transformation?

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