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AAO Issues Warning Against Trending Eye Color-Changing Surgeries

AAO Issues Warning Against Trending Eye Color-Changing Surgeries

February 01, 2024

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has issued a public warning regarding the risks associated with two trending eye color-changing surgeries circulating on social media – iris implant surgery and corneal pigment laser surgery.

In a recent news release, the AAO emphasized the serious risks for vision loss and complications tied to these cosmetic procedures. The academy stressed the importance of full disclosure to patients, particularly those considering these surgeries for cosmetic reasons alone.

While iris implants are FDA-approved for patients with missing portions or a complete absence of the iris due to injury or birth defects, the AAO highlighted potential complications even for medically necessary procedures. Patients opting for iris implants for cosmetic purposes have reported serious complications, necessitating implant removal.

Complications associated with iris implant surgery include reduced vision or blindness, light sensitivity, elevated eye pressure leading to glaucoma, cataracts, corneal injury requiring potential transplant, and inflammation of the iris causing pain, blurred vision, and tearing.

Keratopigmentation, also known as eye tattooing, involves injecting color pigment into the cornea to permanently change its appearance. The AAO outlined potential risks, including damage to the cornea leading to cloudiness, warpage, fluid leakage, and vision loss. Other risks involve light sensitivity, inflammatory reactions, bacterial or fungal infections, uneven distribution of dye, leakage into the eye, and color fading.

The AAO strongly advised against these surgeries, emphasizing that the safest way to change eye color is to explore the suitability for colored contact lenses. These lenses should be prescribed, dispensed, and fitted by qualified eye care professionals. The academy aims to raise awareness about the serious risks associated with these trending cosmetic procedures and encourage informed decision-making among potential patients.