Change Your Eye Color For The Low Price Of $5,000

Image via Storma Medical

Good news for people who hate their eyes and love laser surgery: Soon you might be able to turn your brown eyes blue with a new laser procedure.

The procedure comes from California-based Stroma Medical Corporation, and according to Time, takes about 20 seconds to remove some of the melanin in the eyes, resulting in a pigment change. Although the procedure isn’t yet available in the U.S. (and might not be for another three years, according to Time), Stroma claims that it has conducted 37 successful trials on patients in Mexico and Costa Rica and says the procedure is perfectly safe.

The fundamental principle is that under every brown eye is a blue eye,” Company chairman Gregg Homer told CNN, explaining that there actually isn’t any blue pigment in any color eyes. “If you take that pigment away, then the light can enter the stroma — the little fibers that look like bicycle spokes in a light eye — and when the light scatters it only reflects back the shortest wavelengths and that’s the blue end of the spectrum.”

Stroma Medical’s treatment involves disrupting the layer of pigment in the eye, which makes the body remove that tissue naturally, says CNN. People who undergo the procedure will see blue eyes emerge gradually over a period of weeks.

The laser treatment hasn’t yet completed any clinical trials in the U.S., but Homer estimates that if Americans begin undergoing the procedure in the next few years, it would cost each person about $5,000.

In addition to questions about the supposed safety of the procedure (an ophthalmologist at the London Eye Hospital told CNN that releasing pigment inside the eye could increase pressure in the eye, putting patients at risk for glaucoma), this new treatment raises questions regarding ethnicity and cultural sensitivity. Is the company promoting the idea that blue eyes are better than brown?

Stroma claims it isn’t. “It’s not a goal of our company to promote blue eyes,” Homer told CNN. “All your problems don’t go away because you’ve changed your eye color but I do believe that people like to express themselves a certain way and it’s nice when they have the freedom to do that.”

However, the company’s site certainly phrases their philosophy a little creepily, stating, “We all have blue eyes. In the case of brown eyes, however, a thin layer of brown pigment covers the front surface of the iris (the colored part of the eye). The Stroma laser disrupts this layer of pigment, causing the body to initiate a natural and gradual tissue-removal process. Once the tissue is removed, the patient’s natural blue eye is revealed.” Many people might take this to mean that everyone has “natural” blue eyes — and that, therefore, any other color of eye is somehow an imperfect version of the true blue eye.

Regardless of how creepy you think the Stroma procedure sounds, it remains to be seen if it will be approved for use in the U.S., so brown-eyed people don’t have the option to make themselves blue-eyed… yet.