Colored contact lenses are all the rage and now one surgeon has designed a permanent way of changing people’s eye color.
The procedure, called artificial iris implant, involves inserting a thin, medical grade silicone implant into the eye to alter the appearance of the iris.
It was pioneered by Dr Kenneth Rosenthal, of the Island Eye Surgicentre in Long Island, New York.
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The artificial iris implant can be used for cosmetic reasons but it can also be used to treat some medical conditions, such as heterochromia – a pigment condition which causes a person to have one eye a different colour to the other.
In some cases, the procedure can even be used to restore sight.
For example, in 2011 it was used to treat Nathaniel Schull, 17, who had been partially blind since birth because he was born with congenital aniridia – the absence of irises.
Following the treatment, he has near perfect vision.
The procedure involves creating a 2.8mm incision in the cornea and inserting a folded implant through it.
Once it is inside the eye, the implant springs back into shape and can be positioned.
The implant’s manufacturer, BrightOcular, says it does not affect short or long sightedness meaning people who require glasses still need to wear their spectacles after the operation.