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Eye color is not a trend

Beware of eye drops and procedures to change it, they could be very dangerous

Eye color is not a trend Beware of eye drops and procedures to change it, they could be very dangerous

My grandfather had beautiful blue eyes. My mother always says that during her pregnancy, she would gaze at them for a long time, hoping that the little me in her belly would inherit them. Unfortunately, her visual mantra did not yield the desired results, and she ended up with a baby girl with "ordinary" brown eyes and, on top of that, hyperopia. I confess that, sometimes, I too would have preferred to have been gifted with those Paul Newman-like eyes, and I believe many others have had a similar desire. At least, it seems so when scrolling through TikTok, where videos showing how it is possible to change your eye color to another through a surgical procedure or miraculous drops are multiplying.

What is keratopigmentation?

There are various surgical techniques that allow for changing eye color, such as iris depigmentation with YAG laser and the implantation of an artificial iris over the natural iris, but the most popular one on social media at the moment is keratopigmentation. This solution was originally developed for therapeutic purposes, to improve the eye health of patients with iris atrophy or other visual dysfunctions. The procedure lasts about 10-15 minutes and is performed under topical anesthesia. A cut is made in the cornea using a laser or needle to create a small pocket into which colored pigments are injected, altering the natural color of the iris. The process is reversible; the pigment can be removed to return to the original color.



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Risks or possible side effects

Even though it is quick and seemingly simple, it is still microsurgery and thus the procedure is not free from complications, either during or after surgery. "Pursuing any unnecessary eye surgery is a bad idea, and an implant not approved by the FDA in this country is probably not a great idea" explains Dr. Colin McCannel, - professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and medical director of the Stein Eye Center in Santa Monica - to Healthline. "There is a significant risk that an implant in the front part of the eye will have problems over time. Inflammation, glaucoma, cataracts, and the need for a corneal transplant are the complications that can be anticipated," the expert continues, noting that in the worst-case scenario, it is possible to contract an infection that leads to total loss of the eye or loss of vision. Besides blindness, the side effects include pigment dispersion into other ocular structures, abnormal scarring with induced refractive changes, and marked photosensitivity due to damage to the subcorneal nerve plexuses. His colleague Ivan Schwab, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, also notes that the follow-up of already operated patients has not even reached 10 years, so potential long-term complications are still unknown.

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Beware of eye drops

On social media, there is another way, seemingly simpler than surgery, to turn brown eyes green or any desired color: eye drops. How do they work? According to the videos of various brands that produce them, like Crystal Drop or Fancy Drops, just put two drops in each eye, twice a day, for a period ranging from 3 to 7 months (it varies from person to person and also depends on the starting color, darker irises take longer to lighten), to see the effect. Advertised as miraculous, these products have attracted the attention of the Antitrust, which decided to fine Crystal Dropper 45,000 euros for unfair commercial practices, suspicious of the presence in the clips of some women dressed as doctors with stethoscopes, leading potential buyers to think the drops are a medical device, which they are not. Moreover, according to the list of ingredients, there are no elements that have the property of changing the color of the iris. The drops seem to be not only a scam or an ineffective product, but they are also suspected of having dangerous side effects for health.

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What to do to change iris color?

Having blue eyes is not worth the risk of permanent vision impairment. Before undergoing any procedure or using a product in such a delicate area, it would be better to consult a trusted doctor who can tell us if they are effective and if they pose a risk to our health. Experts remind us that the best and least contraindicated way to change eye color is to use colored lenses, preferably recommended by an ophthalmologist.