Change your eye color?

Cast your memory back to your high school science lesson on the Punnett Square. Remember? We practiced the Punnett Square to calculate the probability of kids born with brown eyes versus blue?

Eye color is inherited from our genes. The brown eye gene statistically dominates the blue recessive gene (which we saw demonstrated in our little, Punnett square exercises). But now you can defy nature altogether.

Last week, a California-based company announced technology that can zap your brown eyes to blue. Stroma Medical Corporation uses a laser to disrupt the pigment in the iris so that your body essentially “digests” and “removes” the pigment from your eye, and eventually your body. Removing the pigment works because we are all born with blue eyes already. Basically, brown-eyed people have blue eyes underneath the brown pigment.

The laser eye coloration procedure takes 20 seconds. Within 2-4 weeks you will have permanently altered your brown eyes to blue.

Shepherd Eye Center’s ophthalmologists weighed in on the news story. They are skeptical and agree the technology is questionable without more research. Dr. Steven Hansen explained that “when pigment is disrupted by the laser, it has to go somewhere, it goes to the drain of the eye called the trabecular meshwork. This drainage can cause a spike in eye pressure leading to Glaucoma or even blindness.”

Dr. Robert Taylor suggested that the big question will be safety studies to show no increased risk of damage to the eye from the procedure. Dr. Taylor echoed Dr. Hansen’s conclusion that when pigment is disrupted in the iris it may potentially cause secondary Glaucoma or increased risk of cataracts.

The procedure is not available to the public yet and when it is rolled out should cost over $7,000. But concerns about its safety and the long-term implications have yet to be confirmed. Dr. Taylor said “the best option right now; which is safe and relatively easy, is colored contact lenses.”