Written by Anza Goodbar (last updated March 19, 2021)
My family is filled with brown-eyed people so there wasn't much of a chance for me to have the green eyes I always wanted. I was so excited when colored contacts became available. I thought that was finally my chance to have green eyes. Alas, at that time, colored contacts couldn't correct the astigmatism in my eyes. So once again, I resigned myself to having brown eyes with gold flecks.
Several years ago, I had laser surgery to correct my vision. Not only did it give me excellent vision, it also opened up the door for playing with different eye colors. Today there are many colors available to alter eye color. Many companies offer colored contacts for a variety of different eye colors even the darkest brown eyes can change through the use of disposable contact lenses. Most companies offer contacts without prescription for fashion purposes. These can be especially fun for festive occasions.
If you're looking for a permanent change in eye color, a Panamanian doctor has created a procedure to change eye color from whatever your natural color is to blue or green. This procedure was initially created to help the Kuna Indians of Panama. The Kuna Indians have a propensity of ocular albinism. Providing color to the iris protects eyes from the effects of UV rays which can cause early blindness.
The procedure is similar to laser surgery. It is an in office procedure that takes about 10 minutes per eye. Topical anesthesia numbs the eye and an ocular implant is inserted to permanently change the color. The Panamanian doctor works with your personal ophthalmologist to insure you are a good candidate for the surgery. Certain tests must be undergone to test eye pressure to ascertain if your eye can withstand the pressure of the implant.
Results are immediate. Patients who have undergone laser eye corrective surgery can participate in having their eye color changed provided they have clearance from their ophthalmologist. A one week stay in Panama is required for follow up care. Vision may be blurry for the first 2-4 days post surgery, but should clear up on its own. Anti-inflammatories and antibiotics are prescribes post surgery for swelling and to ward off infection.
As with any surgical procedure there are risks involved. Possible side affects include: infections, ocular hypertension, iritis and corneal edema. Ocular pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury; normal ocular pressure is between 10-21 mm Hg, ocular hypertension occurs when pressure exceeds 21 mm Hg. Ocular hypertension leads to glaucoma 10% of the time, so it should be monitored. Iritis is swelling of the iris and can be treated with mediations. Wearing dark glasses can relieve discomfort from bright lights; ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taking for any pain. Most often corneal edema can be treated with eye drops to reduce swelling of the cornea.
If changing your eye color permanently is important to you, discuss the advantages and risks with your ophthalmologist. Ocular implants are a minimally evasive procedure that holds risks similar to laser eye surgery. If changing eye color is more of a hobby, there are several companies that offer a wide variety of contact colors to choose from.
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