Eye Color Changing Surgery Cost

Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff

As a relatively new surgery and is currently not FDA approved at the time of this publishing, eye color changing surgery, as the name implies, will change the color of your eyes via surgery.

Usually, unfolding a prosthetic iris and spreading it atop of the natural iris, a surgeon, if they feel you’re a candidate, can change your eye color permanently.  Other procedures, which are relatively new and are not commonly found worldwide, will use a laser to take away the pigment inside of the eye to change the color.

Since most doctors in the United States will refuse to perform the surgery or advise against it, there’s a 99.9% chance you will need to go overseas to have the procedure performed.

Eye Color Changing Surgery Cost
Eye” (CC BY 2.0) by Conal Gallagher

The cost of eye color changing surgery

The cost of an eye color changing surgery can greatly depend on the surgeon you choose, the geographical region, the facility, the type of surgery and all of the inclusions in the bill as every facility will bill differently.  Based on our research online, it appeared as if most people had to go to a foreign country, such as Brazil, to have the procedure performed, at a cost of about $4,500 to $7,500 without any health insurance.  As this will always be considered a cosmetic procedure, do not plan on insurance covering it, but in some cases, some doctors may offer a discount if you were to pay in cash.

The procedure, as per VH1.com, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 overseas.

Time.com talked about a company called Stroma Medical that offered a laser procedure which could turn brown eyes blue.  Conducting multiple successful procedures, the costs would be about $5,000 for the procedure, according to the article.

How does the eye color changing surgery work?

According to this CBSLocal.com article, the eye color is often changed via a popular implant called Bright Ocular — an implant designed to be placed inside the eye in front of the iris.  This implant, in essence, has an opening in the center which allows light to pass through, changing the color.  The implant is made of a thin, flexible and biocompatible medical grade silicone which is designed to change the iris color, and aside from changing the color of the eye, the Bright Ocular company also notes it can treat or alleviate cases of heterochromia, ocular albinism, and other iris-related abnormalities by protecting the eye from the harmful sunlight UV rays.  It can also cover iris defects such as coloboma, aniridia, severe iris atrophies and iridoschisis.

Common colors offered by Bright Ocular, for instance, includes sea green, ice gray, baby blue, olive green, amber and light brown.  You can see photos of patients who took part in the surgery here.

During an implant type procedure, the doctor will create a small incision in the cornea and insert the silicone-based artificial iris, such as the Bright Ocular.  Then, the doctor will unfold the artificial ris undenreath the cornea so that it is able to cover the natural iris.  Typically, during the procedure, only a local anesthetic will be used.

Aside from the Bright Ocular procedure, laser procedures, also not FDA approved, can change the appearance by taking away pigment inside of the eyes.  Since the underlying color of the iris is a pale gray-blue, most people will have melanocytes that are able to produce melanin, just like the skin.  This melanin is what will create your eye’s color, whether it’s a brown or green, and to determine this color, it will all depend on your iris.  With a laser, the melanocytes can essentially be destroyed, just like dark spots can be removed from the skin, essentially changing the colors of the eyes.  Again, like the implants, the laser is relatively new and the long-term effects are not known.

Tips to know

As with any surgical procedures, risks do exist, including endothelial cell loss, chronic uveitis, deformed pupil, ocular hypertension and/or the alteration of the cornea.  One doctor, according to the VH1 article mentioned above, noted the risks may not be seen until 10, 15 or even 20 years in the future as the risks are considered to be long-term.  For example, glaucoma can develop over the years and will not be seen immediately after the procedure.  Being a brand new procedure, most doctors do recommend you wait at least 10 to 15 years to see if any long-term risks do arise.  There were reports from a YouTube user claiming he had to take the implants out four years later as it did cause damage to his one eye.  To see a full list of potential side effect, refer to this medical study.

Not everyone is eligible for the procedure as your eye measurements will determine whether or not you’re a candidate for the procedure.

Surgery, being the riskiest option, isn’t the only way to change your eye color.  Other methods, which are much safer, include using makeup to influence your eye color, colored contact lenses or even colored eye drops.

Iris implants, at the time of this publishing, are not approved by the FDA, so you will find many doctors in the United States will not offer it.  In fact, as of 2014, the American Academy of Ophthalmology advised against this type of procedure.

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