Dr. Gregg Homer of Stroma Medical (California) has developed a laser technique which can remove brown melanin from the anterior layers of the iris. The procedure is safe, it has already been tested on 17 subjects from Mexico and 20 from Costa Rica. What the procedure need now is approval from regulatory bodies.
The idea occurred to Dr. Gregg Homer when he was returning home after a visit at a dermatology office. He went there to remove some pigment spots from his skin using laser. This made him wonder whether he could use the same procedure to change the color of the iris too. The doctor made some research and discovered that a study from 1980’s has proved that underneath the brown eye there is a blue layer. And there is nothing to impede the removal of the brown layer. Homer went back to the dermatologist and asked his opinion about this idea. He joined his board of investigators and 20 years later the idea came alive.
The actual procedure costs $5.000 and it only lasts for 20 seconds, but the effect is not immediate. The laser intensity is set very low and it will take a couple of weeks before the color starts to change. The brown layer is disrupted and this makes the body naturally remove the tissue. The idea of this operation is based on the fact that the green laser passes right to the cornea and it is only absorbed by dark colors. If the brown pigment is taken away, the light can penetrate the stroma –the small fibers on the surface of the eye that look like bicycle spokes. When the light spreads it will reflect back the shortest distance which is the blue at the end of the spectrum.
Although neither the pupil nor the vision nerves are affected it remains to be seen what the long-term effects of the procedure are. Ophthalmologists believe that at least in theory glaucoma could become a problem. The release of pigments could block drainage channels inside the eye which leads to pressure building. Until now the patients who have undergone the procedure have not shown any signs of pressure increase, which is a sign of glaucoma. Anyway, blockage can take place only in the back of the iris. This operation takes place in the front part so there risks are very low.
Image Source: ZME Science
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