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    Laser procedure turns brown eyes blue

    Image courtesy of Stroma Medical

    Laguna Beach, CA—Patients may soon be able to change their brown eyes blue through a quick laser procedure.

    Strōma Medical, a company based in Laguna Beach, CA, has developed a procedure that disrupts the layer of brown pigment in the iris, revealing the blue underneath.

    The desire to change eye color has becoming increasingly popular, as evidenced by the demand for new colored contact lens brands and the controversial BrightOcular iris implant.

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    The procedure

    Image courtesy of Stroma MedicalAccording to Strōma Medical, the procedure uses a laser that fires a series of small, computer-guided pulses across the iris to photo-disrupt stromal melanocytes. The energy passes through the cornea and selectively targets the brown melanocytes, leaving the cornea and posterior iris stroma undisturbed thanks to its photo-absorption properties.

    The procedure takes less than 20 seconds. The photo-disrupted melanocytes release cytokine proteins molecules into the aqueous humor of the anterior chamber. Strōma Medical says the cytokine signal recruits macrophages that engulf and digest the photo-disrupted melanocytes as cellular debris.

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    The company says that the eyecare professional would determine when the patient would be able to go back to work and drive, but Strōma Medical says patients should be able to do so shortly after the procedure. The irises will grow darker for the first week or so after the procedure, but they will slowly lighten with the full color change process taking two to four weeks.

    Strōma’s Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer Gregg Homer says the company treated 17 patients in Mexico two years ago, and the company is currently treating 20 patients in Costa Rica and will likely add more. The company also has plans to treat 30 patients in the Philippines.

    Dr. Homer says Strōma will apply for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval shortly after it releases the technology commercially outside of the U.S.

    Next: Safety concerns

    Colleen E. McCarthy
    Colleen McCarthy is a freelance writer based in the Cleveland area and a former editor of Optometry Times. She is a 2010 graduate of the ...

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