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Want to Turn Your Brown Eyes Blue? You Can, But Is It Safe?

We have been so busy with the office move and several Bright Eyes events, that I haven’t written about clinical eye care recently. It is a shame because I have so many things I want to post: new products that are out, educational posts that feature images from my new anterior segment camera, and more. But this is one topic that I found fascinating and have wanted to share for a while now.

For many people, the grass is always greener in other people’s eyes. Well, that’s not exactly right, but there are a lot of people who think they’d like to have a different eye color – be it blue, green, brown, or even purple. For years, the only way to do this was with cosmetic contact lenses. These are like regular contact lenses with paint or dye on them. We fit these on occasion but, but they haven’t improved in technology recently.

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Image from the BBC

Well, now there may be a procedure to permanently change your eye color. A doctor is experimenting with using a laser to remove the brown color from the outside of the iris, the colored part of your eye. This leaves the person with blue eye. I originally read this from the BBC News:

The process involves a computerised scanning system that takes a picture of the iris and works out which areas to treat. The laser is then fired, using a proprietary pattern, hitting one spot of the iris at a time.

So now you are thinking, “I want blue eyes from lasers!” But is this a good idea? I doubt it. Not only are their potential side effects with lasers in the eyes in general in not handle correctly, but also having lots of loose pigment floating around inside your eyes can give you certain types of problems, including glaucoma.

From the article:

“The pigment is there for a reason. If the pigment is lost you can get problems such as glare or double vision,” said Larry Benjamin, a consultant eye surgeon at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in the UK.
So I don’t think it is a very good idea. But people will take lots of risks if they think it makes them look good. At least ask your regular eye doctor first.

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
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The Benefits and Risks of LASIK

I talk to people every day about refractive surgery such as LASIK. A few people are extremely interested, but almost everyone is at least curious about whether or not they are good candidates.

Generally the results of LASIK are very good. But, like any medical procedure, there are risks. Recently, the FDA has been evaluating whether or not some of the severe but unlikely risks are communicated effectively to the public.

Here are some reasons why you might want to consider LASIK:

  • Freedom from Glasses: This is the number one reason people are interested in LASIK. This may be because they don’t like glasses or because they work in environments that make wearing glasses difficult.
  • Freedom from Contacts: Some people can’t tolerate contacts or put the health of their eyes at risk by wearing them. LASIK may be a better option.
  • Improved Vision: In some cases, vision may be better with LASIK than with glasses.

Here are some reasons why you may not be a good candidate for LASIK and what other options you might consider:

  • Eye Disease: It probably goes without saying that if you have eye problems, such as inflammation, infection, injury or diseases of they eyes that LASIK might not be best for you. Glasses are most likely best until the situation is resolved.
  • Large Pupils: If you have very large pupils, you may already notice mild halos or glare at night. This is somehwat like what your vision is like after going swimming at night: all lights have little balls of hazy light around them. If you have large pupils, this will be made worse by LASIK. You should stick with glasses and contacts.
  • Thin Corneas: LASIK works by using a laser to remove tissue from the front, clear part of your eye. If you do not have enough tissue to work with then it is not safe to have LASIK. However, another type of refractive surgery, PRK, may be an option, as well as glasses and contacts.
  • Dry Eye: Because there is cutting involved in LASIK, eyes that are not naturally moist enough may not heal as well. This might affect vision and comfort. Many people who have normal, healthy eyes expereince dryness for a time after LASIK. If you have very dry eyes your best bet is to wear glasses or specialty contacts.
  • Young Age: A person’s vision does not tend to fully stabalize until they are in their 20s. LASIK cannot be done until the prescription is stable. Possible options for children and teenagers include glasses, contacts, and Precise Cornea Reshaping.
  • Older Age: If you are over 40 years of age, you can still get LASIK, but you should know that your near vision will probably be affected.

If you are considering LASIK, be sure to ask your eye doctor what the risks and benefits are for you. I encourage you to shop around. Not for the best price, but for the best doctor who explains everything to you to your satisfaction.

Feel free to email or come in if you have questions about whether LASIK is right for you.

Be Well!

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.

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