How to Change Your Iris Color: For Now Just Don’t Do it Surgically: The Danger of Cosmetic Iris Implants

How to Change Your Iris Color in Healthy Eyes: For Now Just Don’t Do it Surgically: The Danger of Cosmetic Iris Implants

A patient on Healthtap asked if a video on changing iris color surgically was real.

Unfortunately, I told this patient it was real but also really dangerous.

This is what I told her:

It appears that It is real but not FDA approved in the US because it is too risky still. The risks include infection, loss of vision permanently and loss of the eye. There is no way to tell what the complication rate is of the surgeons doing the surgery in foreign countries. I would not recommend anyone having this procedure. It is an intraocular surgery with multiple risks. 

Thus it appears that many “eye surgeon” around the world are charging patients around $7000-8000 (some include air fare & housing, most do not) for the placement of an artificial iris. 

There are no outcomes studies from reputable practices on the rates of complication which are listed here:
1. Infection, Endophthalmitis: which there are like present given the other issues US MDs are seeing.
2. Inflammation: all of these patients will have inflammation after the surgery. Inflammation increases the risk of all the other possible complications listed below. It is controlled with steroid drops which also increases the risk of Glaucoma and Cataracts.
3. Glaucoma: high eye pressures after the surgery. This is very likely given the location of the artificial iris placement. The peripheral edges of the artificial iris sit in the angle or trabecular meshwork which likely clogs up the intra-ocular drain located in the angle in some patients. 
4. Loss of Endothelial Cells of the Cornea: this is a big risk and is likely occurring slowly over time in all patients have these first generation artificial irises. The long term side effects of such an occurrence is tragic! Each person has a finite number of these priceless endothelial cells which line the inner part of the cornea. These cell’s job is to pump out the water of the corneal so that the clear cornea does not start to look like the opaque white part of the eye called the sclera. Thus likely 100% of these patients are slowly loosing their endothelial cells which will become an issue years later, long after the eye surgeon who placed the cosmetic iris implant has cashed in. This is just plain malpractice!
5. Lens Changes and Future Cataracts: Additionally all of these patients have increased their risk of future cataract formation by the very fact that this implant was placed inside the eye.
6. Cystoid Macular Edema: swelling of the macula. 
7. Retinal Hole and Detachment
8. Depression, Anxiety: these rates honestly will likely increase in these patients when they realize the true risks involved
9. Permanent loss of vision: many patients in their videos on Youtube note that there vision has never been the same since their surgery.  One woman, a video sponsored by Bright Ocular says that she is planning her LASIK because her vision stayed blurry after the first surgery. 

This surgery is dangerous in its current form and should not be performed on healthy eyes. For patients who have Aniridia or Iris defects from trauma or previous surgery, the risk remains but benefits may outweigh the risks. The Morcher Ring is FDA approved in the US for these patients but currently the Morcher Ring will not change the whole eye color and currently only come in black. 

Morcher Ring:

Thus the best way to change your eye color:
1. Just don’t do it! Be happy with the eye color God gave you! If someone only wants to date someone with blue eyes, run away from them as fast as you can. 
2. If you have to change your eye color for an acting job, then temporary Cosmetic Contact Lenses is the best way to go. Always be careful of any contact lens given the real risk of a corneal infection which can lead the the very severe infection of endophthalmitis which can lead to the loss of vision permanently and even loss of the eye: I have seen this happen many times. 
3. For now, until we have further studies, avoid any surgical options for changing eye color in healthy, normal eyes. 

Sandra Lora Cremers, MD, FACS
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