Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Change Your Eye Color......Maybe?

I attended a very interesting lecture and presentation last night that I want to share with everyone. The presentation was through the offices of Dr. Kerry Assil, M.D. Dr. Assil is an ophthalmologist and corneal specialist that I have co-managed several cases with over the years. The highlight of the presentation was two live surgeries that were performed by Dr. Assil. What made these lectures especially interesting was that they covered some topics that I had never seen before. The most interesting topic was the removal of a silicone colored disc that was surgically implanted in a patient's eyes by an ophthalmologist in the country of Panama. The patient that had the surgery originally had these colored silicone plastic discs implanted into his eyes to change his eye color. His eyes are originally brown and he wanted them to look green. The lenses are kind of shapped like a "life saver candy" with a colored ring and a hole in the center so light can enter the eye. I must say the the cosmetic effect of the lens on the eye prior to surgery was very natural looking. The eye actually did look green and very realistic. Here is the problem: The artificial iris that was placed into the eye sits in front of the natural iris and covers up the natural eye color. This would be OK except that the artificial iris rubs against the natural iris creating loose pigment particles that plug up the eyes natural drainage mechanism. In addition, the artificial iris rubs against the front surface of the cornea causing the cells there to be decompensated. This can cause the patient to develop corneal swelling and eventually require a corneal transplant. Not only this, but the patient can be more prone to developing cataracts at a much earlier date as well as chronic inflammation to the eyes.

The surgery proceeded without complication and after the procedure the patient was brought before the audience and questions were asked. The overall upshot of the questioning pointed to the fact that it is very easy for consumers to see something such as a cosmetic procedure as a safe and easy surgery when real risks and dangers can accompany the surgery. This can apply to everything from eye color change to weight loss procedures like the "lap band". All other things being equal, the best thing that patients can do is research. Ask other professionals in the field what they think of a particular procedure if you are considering it. Get a second opinion. If there is only one doctor doing the procedure and the doctor is in a country far away from where you live, how are you going to deal with possible problems that may arise.

There are many safe and effective ways to change eye color using tried and true products like cosmetic contact lenses. I think this patient has learned a very valuable lesson from this experience.

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