This subject has always interested me. I remember several years ago when depigmentation eyedrops to lighten the eyes came into the media. It both shocked, concerned and intrigued me to the point of additional research. Sure, I had thought about it. But it seemed so scary, so definite and possibly dangerous? Surely it was dangerous. I had to know more. Then ocular implants came into the cosmetic lime light, even scarier to me. What are we willing to do to lighten our eyes to fit the cookie cutter version of what is attractive?
Aesthetically, our eyes are what defines our facial individuality. No two are alike (well hopefully your own are to a certain degree). Wait, I take that back. My very good friend has one gray-hazel eye and the other is blue (complete heterochromia). She calls it her ‘wonky eye’ but I love it! I think it is very attractive. There is even a horse down the street from me that has one light blue eye and one brown eye. I like it! Partial heterochromia is also something I find attractive; you can see this in those who have one iris that has partial color differentiations. Heterochromia can be genetic, from disease or trauma as well. But to get back to the subject, our eyes are so unique and the thought of changing the color permanently actually makes me uncomfortable to a degree. I was looking at my eyes last night and sometimes they seem more green. n truth, I wish they were like that all of the time…
Why not simply use colored contact lenses? Because they rarely, if ever, look real. Sure, there are custom opaque or solid contacts that can fully cover the iris itself, thereby eliminating the weird chameleon eye look. But whatever you use, the area around the pupil usually has a tell-tale demarcation between the natural color and the contact itself. Up close it is very obvious. Even a custom contact with a pupil rim, a darker section on the area around where the pupil would start, would make us look like our pupils are quite dilated. No bueno.
So what are our options if we really want to change? Well, if you want to change your eye color and have more control over the outcome, not to mention still maintain reversibility, there are ocular implants that can be surgically implanted that change your eye color. Invented by Dr. Alberto Kahn of K.M.D. Corporation. The ocular were designed with whose in mind who have no pigment (such as ocular albinism), or partial coloboma (congenital irregular pigmentation), or the effects fro deposits from medication, or trauma from injury or disease. But now individuals wishing to change the color of their eyes who have no pre-existing pigmentation issues may have these ocular implant surgically placed under the cornea.
The procedure is performed under topical anesthesia. Fluid is removed from under the corne. Liquid silicone (often used in ocular surgery) is injected to “keep a deep anterior chamber” and a 3.2 mm 1 incision (or sometimes 2) is made. A modified non-prescription diaphragm that resembles a soft contact is rolled to form a long tube and it is inserted into the incision and placed over the natural iris. Once the implant is inserted it is spread out across your natural iris using either blunt spatula or more liquid silicone. The incision may need to be widened if this proves difficult. The liquid silicone is aspirated and “the anterior chamber [is then] rinsed”. The incision heals on its own with no scarring.
The recovery is reported to be easy to moderate, with blurry vision for about 2 to 4 days. You are requested to stay for one week in Panama to attend your post-op appointment. Anti-inflammatory eye drops and antibiotics are prescribed. The pain is reported to be very minimal, more of an irritation than true pain. The surgery is not without its risks, however. Infections, ocular hypertension and corneal edema (swelling of the cornea), iritis (inflammation of the iris which ironically can cause release of the pigment) are possible.
So what if you don’t want to have surgery? Ocular suspensions administered for eye pressure problems caused from open angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension, can darken your iris (iridial anisochromia) which is usually not reversible. Prostaglandin analogue treatment can also darken your eyelashes and periocular skin (the skin around the eye, inside of the eyelids) which is reversible. Not all patients experience significant iris color change. Some topical prostaglandin therapy medications are outlined below:
- Betagan® (levobunolol can cause darkening of the iris Although I have seen one report of patient who claimed depigmentation, it is known to darken..
- Travatan® (travoprost) is a synthetic prostaglandin analogue and has been reported to produce a darker iris.
- Betaxolol hydrochloride ophthalmic solution may also cause darkening of the iris, eyelashes and the rims of the eyelids. Although several studies I have read did not produce significant changes in the iris. There is generally a low incidence of color change with the use of Betaxolol hydrochloride.
- Unoprostone also causes the iris to pigment and became darker.
- Latanoprost (Xalatan®) is reported to produce significant iris color change (darker).
So what about lightening the iris with medications? Well, there is not much to report. In the past, I had read about drops that you could buy to counter the effects of the above medications, although the information seems to be scarce these days. Even the website I once had is no longer valid. However, there are several websites selling the same herbal solution that supposedly lighten the eyes but I have not heard any first hand reports of its success. Although I cannot get a complete list of the ingredients, one seller claims that the product contains “natural extracts of chamomile, licorice root, white willow, and vegetable glycerine.” I am sure there is something far less common in the concoction. General lightening reportedly takes about 28 days to notice. The seller also advised that blue took the longest to achieve (up to 14 months) and that “pure blue” was not a common result, rather more of a “mixed blue” color; a blue eye with a darker center.
Personally, I would be afraid to use said herbal depigmentation drops. I am curious enough to purchase it and get it analyzed however. If the mood strikes me, I very well may. However, it may be a lost cause considering I have yet to find even ONE review which I thought was genuine and that contained photos I know I would be posting my photos if I had success with such a product. It’s scary business if you ask me..
Ocular Implants: http://www.newcoloriris.com/