Surgery to change one’s eye color is incredibly invasive, carries with it all the risks of a normal surgery, and is not something you are ever able to reverse. Meaning it is even more permanent than a tattoo.
Using surgery to get a new eye color is something I would not recommend, as all eye colors are beautiful, and you can always wear contacts to temporarily change your color anyway. However if this is something you have thought about your whole life or years and you are of age and have the money it is of course an option, although as with all surgeries and irreversible options, it is a choice, and one that must be made carefully. Again I would never recommend this and think a temporary solution is always better.
If this is something you are interested in, I would at least advise wearing your desired color contact for at least a few years every single day before committing and deciding you want it permanently and changed on your actual body. This is more invasive and more of a commitment even than tattooed eyeliner, something people may regret as they grow older and their makeup style changes.
There are two options for this type surgery:
1. The Stroma Procedure
2. The Brightocular Procedure
The newer one, which is still undergoing the initial clinical trials and testing and is not yet approved in the US is called the Stroma procedure, only strips away the top layer of your eye’s pigment, you are unable to control the exact shade of blue or green you get. You may end up getting a light gray color when you wanted bright blue or sea green. It’s a huge change and there is a large difference between gray blue, bright blue, and sea green.
Here is an example of a gray eye, when perhaps the patient was hoping for a brighter blue:
The other version allows for eye implants with a chosen color, but you lose the translucency of the Stroma procedure, this is done by Brightocular which is patent approved in the US. Here is an asian eye with a light brown implant:
Again, both of these changes are 100% irreversible. They have their new eye colors for life.
Even though I disagree on principle, I think this photo is absolutely striking. The man goes from completely average to someone I wouldn’t even glance at twice, to breathtakingly beautiful, looking like a model or movie star, someone I would definitely look at for more than a few seconds. See the before after image below:
The above photo is a before/after image of a man who used the Brightocular iris implant surgery.
The Stroma procedure method strips away iris pigment instead of putting in an iris implant which CNN describes as a 20 second laser procedure that strips away the pigment on the top layer of the eye. This procedure can only go dark to light. It takes advantage of the fact that everyone has a lighter color underneath the dark pigment of their eye and reveals that by stripping away the top layer. The new eye color only appears a few weeks after the top layer is stripped away.
It takes 30 seconds in all and is painless.
This procedure was started by Stroma Medical who wanted to make it safer and more accessible.
Here is their site:
It is a new procedure, still undergoing development, and only treats the iris, and Stroma charges $5K per procedure. It won’t be available commercially until they have tested more thoroughly on at least 100 patients.
A potential risk includes increasing the chances of the development of Glaucoma. This can happen when you disturb and release the eye’s pigment, it has the potential to clog the eye and make the pressure go up, which is the direct cause of Glaucoma.
Dr. Kamran Riaz agrees their is the potential for increased risk of Glaucoma, in addition to light sensitivity and inflammation that could lead to permanent eye damage or even greater risk.
It was invented by Gregg Homer, and uses a low energy laser that the companies claim is too gentle to cause any lasting harm. He also argues that this surgery allows for a more natural blue than can be achieved with color contacts due to a natural “translucency” that the procedure allows for.
Since it is so new, I personally think more research needs to be conducted before deciding on whether or not there are any long term consequences.
Currently they are not marketing in the US, or planning to in the near future. Could that be due to the more stringent US medical laws? Or a combination of that and the prevalence of brown eyes in countries such as Mexico compared to the US?
The current patient count is 17 in Mexico and 20 in Costa Rica.
The second approach which has been done for years to correct medical problems and allows for more control over the final eye color is the Brightocular iris implant approach. This is also permanent eye color changing surgery mostly taking people from any eye color to any eye color they want. The effect can be stunning and very dramatic, however the same effect can always be achieved through contact lenses as well.
This method opts for a thin flexible eye implant that allows for your exact choice of color and is also used to cover up other eye defects. It is a 15 minute procedure and essentially implants a new iris into the eye.
Here are their photos before and after, which you can look at for more info: http://www.brightocular.com/patient-photos.htm