When Crystal Gayle asked, “Don’t it make my brown eyes blue?”, I don’t think she expected the emphatic reply, “Oh, hell yeah girlfriend!”.
Everyone loves blue eyes (don’t lie). But I bet you didn’t know that we all have them! It’s just that 83% of us don’t know it, because of a thin layer of brown pigment that covers the surface of our iris. With this knowledge, inventor and scientist, Gregg Homer, JSD (PhD) and the Stroma Medical Corporation, developed and patented the non-invasive Stroma Laser.
What is the Strōma Laser?
The Strōma Laser is a non-invasive procedure that is designed to get rid of, or considerably lessen, the brown melanin in the anterior layers of the iris by using a Q-switch neodymium YAG laser to fire small pulses onto the iris in order to disrupt the outer thin layer of brown pigment on the top of the iris.
By disrupting that layer, it promotes the body to begin the natural, gradual tissue-removal process, eventually revealing your natural blue eye.
Um, minor concern. How do we know that the procedure won’t affect the part of our eyes that makes us SEE?
Stroma says that “Because of the photo-absorption properties of this laser, the energy passes through the clear cornea and it very selectively hits the brown melanocytes, leaving the cornea and posteria iris stroam totally undisturbed…” You can read this in more detail in this article at OphthalmologyBusiness.org.
The is an interesting video that runs around 13 minutes but is pretty fascinating regarding this crazy new device:
How It Goes Down
The procedure involves no incisions or injections, or any kind of eye invasion, other than the use of a small device to keep your eye open for an even and consistent treatment.
- So you sit in front of the Strōma laser with your head stabilized. Then one eye is covered while the other eye is held open with a device.
- In order to keep your pupils safe, which is the part of your eye that makes you see, they are constricted to keep them far away from the treatment area. Once the pupil is constricted, you will be told to direct that eye towards a light (1cm x 1cm) about a foot from your eyes. It doesn’t hurt and takes about 30 seconds per eye.
Think of constriction as the opposite of when you have an eye exam and your doctor dilates your pupils, making them like saucers and very sensitive to the light, resulting in you looking like a momo wearing those pretty glasses when you leave.
- Ditto on the next eye. So basically the total actual procedure time takes a minute.
- Within a week of the procedure you’ll notice your eyes getting darker, but within the next 2 to 4 weeks your eyes will lighten, revealing your natural blue color.
In most cases you will be able to drive and go about your regular business after the procedure, but night driving should be avoided for the first few hours because the pupils will still be constricted.
The main questions I had were, how can you regulate the evenness of the results? And how many treatments will a person with charcoal eyes need?
(Ok, really my first reaction was ARE YOU CRAZY??? THAT’S MY EYES!! Then I looked more into it, saw the research, got a little nauseated that they tested it on innocent rabbits, then felt calm that the rabbits were fine, just with blue eyes, and hopeful that 21 humans have done it successfully as well.)
I was told that sometimes there may be a ring of pigment that stays around the newly blue iris, that blends in but is actually quite attractive. Like that chic on the cover National Geographic all those years ago. Remember her?
Clinical Studies for Stroma Medical
Stroma Medical has completed Phase I of clinical studies, having used two generations of laser devices and a series of human studies confirming the safety and efficacy of the device.
The next step is Phase II, which will be to treat about 120 patients in multiple countries and follow them for a predetermined length of time for long term effects. You can read more about the different phases of research in my article In The Pipeline: Lipo-202.
Cost and Availability of Stroma Laser Treatment
The procedure is expected to be presented to the FDA a the end of 2015 and should run at about $5000. Um, perhaps I should do an article on colored contacts?