Eye color change procedure is probably the most amazing plastic surgery procedure available since long.
As any surgery it requires to have an informed choice but as it is a rather new procedure and involves eyes it can be a sensitive case.
If you want to know if you can or should have a Keratopigmentation : find out if a Keratopigmentation is for me?
Therefore it is important to understand if and what eye color change procedure is safe.
Safety in terms of eye color change procedure means what techniques and surgery we are referring to.
There are different surgery techniques to change eye color and so the best is to check each one them what are the advantages but mainly the risks and potential complications.
The risks of this technical and not so common procedure is blindness or reduced vision in worst case scenario but also cornea, cataract or glaucoma issues.
You will not be a good artificial iris transplant procedure candidate in the following cases:
You have a retinal detachment
An eye infection
An eye inflammation
An eye disorder that changes the eye function (ie a rubella cataract)
Rubeosis of the iris
A diabetic retinopathy
A disorder that may require another eye procedure to be performed before
A missing iris
In addition to these “restrictions” it is reminded that such procedure for cosmetic reasons only is not recommended at all and even forbidden. The American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Food and Drugs Administration, most European Drug Administrations or the American Glaucoma Society don’t recommend such procedure if not for medical reasons.
The main risks associated with colored eye contact lenses without prescription are :
Corneal abrasions that leads to severe inflammation
Infections like keratitis
Blindness in some rare cases
Eye surgeons say the potential risks are, though it still has to be proven:
Uveitis because of the potential inflammation caused by the laser beam
Potential blindness as some cases where reported
Some reports and comments from Europe or United States based ophthalmologists societies suggest that potential patients shall be cautious and have an informed choice of the various techniques to color their eye before undergoing such technique.
On the other hand the pros comments are mainly from Stoma Company. They says that the procedure is safe after more than ten years of tests. These results are of course in the report sent to the FDA.
It is probaly less risky than the other procedures as it is not a surgery but still you have to comply and pay attention.
Keratopigmentation is a different procedures than the above mentioned surgeries as it aims to pigment the eye and not add lenses, depigment the iris or change the iris.
As any surgery this surgery may have some risks but it depends of the clinic, surgeon, protocol, technology used so you may have keratopigmentation and safe keratopigmentation.
You have to check:
What equipment and laser is provided by the Clinic?
What is the background and experience of the surgeon?
What pigments are provided and how safe they are?
If these parameters are ticked then you have put all the chances to have a safe eye color change technique.
In short Keratopigmentation is deemed to be the most efficient eye color change procedure. If the right one is chosen meaning with the right ophthalmologist with the right team but also laser and pigment then it is deemed to be safe.
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Providing your medical history will also help your ophthalmologist.
To the question is Keratopigmentation a safe eye color change procedure, we can confirm that first Keratopigmentation is the most safe eye color change procedure. Eye depigmentation or artificial iris transplant are very risky surgeries.
Then we can also remind that no surgery is without any risks but you shall enquire and check different things to get the right Keratopigmentation.
It is first important to review the development over time of eye pigmentation techniques. Why? because in itself this technique is not new and that in the end it is an addition of several techniques and different technological developments which have made it possible to finally achieve results that can be qualified as safe. The tattoo first in itself is not new, since the dawn of time men have been using tattoos on their bodies. We even see that today, for example, there are 12 million French people with tattoos, 13 million Britons or more than 100 million Americans.
It is therefore important to understand the evolution of the technique known as keratopigmentation which is also sometimes called corneal tattooing.
The study of the evolution of Keratopigmentation allows us to understand what is in the field of discovery, experience and then science.
It was the physicist and philosopher Galen of Pergamum who practiced the first tattoo of the cornea in the 170s AD. It was in 1870 that we find in the literature the term "corneal tattooing" used by oculoplastic surgeons such as Louis Von Wecker.
It was in 1922, with his work “Multicolor tattooing of cornea”, that the American ophthalmologist Samuel Lewis Ziegler brought keratopigmentation into the modern era.
In the 1990s, the realization of a tunnel in the cornea to lodge there in first intention of the segments of rings for the management of keratoconus allowed the realization of a wider tunnel to introduce a pigment.
It is a Spanish ophthalmologist Professor Alio, who gives the letters of nobility in 2001 to this technique thanks to the advent of the femtosecond laser which made it possible to carry out the tunnel in a secure way with great precision.
Indeed, the technique used is the same as for the creation of tunnels with the placement of intracorneal rings in the management of keratoconus. Therapeutic keratopigmentation has given hope to many patients with aniridia, coloboma, traumatic iris or albinism with absence of iris staining.
No adverse event has been reported in these cases, hence the extension of this technique in aesthetics.
It is therefore, as is often the case, the mastery of a technique or medical surgery which has allowed it to open up to other fields such as, logically, that of aesthetics.
The technique, like all innovations, is certainly decried. This was the case in 1949 with the appearance of rigid poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) implants for cataract surgery. Ditto in 1967 with phacoemulsification in cataract surgery. Ditto in the 1990s for refractive surgery for which we spoke of scarification of the cornea. Ditto in 1997 for the corneal CXL which stops the disease of keratoconus and which was to age the cornea by 20 or 30 years.
But today millions of people are operated by these techniques and they are no longer debated. Keratopigmentation does not escape the debate, In 2021 a presentation by Professor Muraine at the annual congress of SAFIR (Society of the French Association of Implants and Refractive Surgery) showed that among all the techniques, keratopigmentation performed by laser femtosecond was the least risky versus laser depigmentation of the iris which promotes glaucoma and cataracts or the placement of an iris implant which decompensates the cornea and leads to the transplant.
Any Clinic or ophthalmologist will tell you all is fine, there is no complications reported and you can go ahead. Yes but this is more complex than that. You need a combination of criteria to reduce the risk. We often name a safe procedure (well a surgery that tends to risk 0) as certified.
How can I check that keratopigmentation is safe? The following 4 cumulative criteria must be met (as explained in the infographic).
How can i check that a Keratopigmentation is safe with the 4 criteria?
It may sound obvious but the first criteria is who will perform your Keratopigmentation. Your ophthalmologist needs to be a Board certified ophthalmologist and needs to prove that he or she is really trained for Keratopigmentation. Your ophthalmologist has to explain how he or she become an expert in Keratopigmentation, how many surgeries were provided, what technique is used with what equipment.
Any surgery requires specialists but these specialists have to share their knowledge and experience with colleagues. A plastic surgeon belongs to a Board of Certified Plastic Surgeons like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. A group of experts prooves you are part of a team that shares its knowledge between its members. Be part of such an Association / Society may be less important for a routine plastic surgery procedure like eyelid surgery for instance but not for a novel procedure. Keratopigmentation is constantly evolving and knowledge and practice needs to be share. This is why among our criteria we have selected Eye Clinics and ophthalmologists that are part of such International Society.
Your ophthalmologist and his team has to clearly explain you what type of femtosecond laser is used to create a channel to insert the future pigments. Any ophthalmologist can explain he or she uses the best or latest technology but this might not unfortunately be true.
Your ophthalmologist has to use a state of the art laser like Zeiss brand. It shall not be an old laser like VisuMax 500 used in New York or IntraLase brand. It has to be the latest technology like Zeiss VisuMax 800 like used in Italy or France by some of our certified Clinics for Keratopigmentation. The risk is not insignificant because old lasers can cause subcongonctiva hemorrhages and loss of sight during the passage of the laser.
We would like to stress the fact that the quality of pigments is essential in your Keratopigmentation. It is important that you don't insert non quality components in your eyes permanently. Your vision and life comfort depend on it. We have noticed that some surgeons through out the world used non certified pigments, even some common food pigments. It means your ophthalmologist is not providing you with the right quality and medical grade pigments. Some have skipped this part and have now vision problems.
In conclusion, the best surgery to change the color of your eyes in a safe way is Keratopigmentation. This surgery has by far the lowest risks.
All keratopigmentations are not equal, it is then necessary to sort those which are certified and those which are not.
You can always contact us and if not, apply the 4 cumulative criteria for safe and successful Keratopigmentation yourself.
Updated September 2023 Doctor Astor
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