New Laser Surgery Offers a Change in Eye Color

New Laser Surgery Offers a Change in Eye Color

In a story that first surfaced in 2011, a doctor in Laguna Beach, CA has devised a technique by which a specially tuned laser can be applied to the iris (the colored part of the eye) to change the eye color.  Gregg Homer, the former entertainment lawyer who went back to school to get his biology doctorate, invented the technology and is seeking investors.

The procedure, which he says takes about 20 seconds, involves focusing this laser on the surface of the iris.  The energy from the laser causes a fundamental change in its structure by which the brown pigment (melanin) is removed.  How does he put the blue pigment in, you might ask?  It turns out that our eyes are all blue underneath.  This is evident when you look into the eyes of a newborn and see that they all have a blue-gray color to their eyes.  When the brown pigment is dispersed or reabsorbed by the laser, the blue color is left behind.  The surgery only takes 20 seconds to perform, but the eye color change takes place over a few weeks achieving a result previously only possible with colored contact lenses.

Blue Eyes Now?

I have a lot of questions I would need answered before I could advise a patient to have this surgery.  Lasers are used under many different circumstances in ophthalmology.  Most are familiar with LASIK (Laser In Situ Keratomileusis) or laser vision correction.  We also use different laser platforms to treat different varieties of glaucoma, to aid in visual rehabilitation after cataract surgery, and to treat severe forms of diabetic eye disease.  Those of us with experience using laser energy in the eye know that these are not totally benign procedures, and all have potential risks, even after extensive clinical trials.  Homer himself says that although they haven’t seen any side effects yet, he can’t guarantee they won’t arise in the future.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul.  Perhaps you need to look into your own a bit to consider just how important such a procedure is before undergoing an unnecessary, unproven surgery.

Disclaimer: North Carolina Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat does not offer any eye color change procedures.