You can now get surgery to change the colour of your eyes. But it doesn't mean you should.

Think your brown eyes are boring? Always wanted something a little... different? Well, if you're prepared to risk going blind, colour changing eye surgery might be for you.

In case you missed it, colour changing eye surgery has gone viral on social media — it's everywhere you look (pardon the pun), with these insane before and after images flooding the internet and causing a massive stir (like, people are literally going from dark brown eyes to piercing blue eyes). 

Also going viral? The horror stories.

Because in 2024, people are literally going blind for beauty.

Watch: Speaking of eyes, are you giving yours too much screen time? Here's what you can do. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

A French company by the name of New Color seems to lead the charge, posting viral videos of patients undergoing extreme eye colour change. 

The clinic uses something called the "FLAAK Pro technique" which they describe as "the most advanced and natural keratopigmentation."

Just check it out below:

@new_color_flaak EYE COLOR CHANGE for @LAYYONS🦋 Eye color change using the FLAAK Pro technique, the most advanced and natural keratopigmentation ☝🏼 You dream about changing the color of your eyes? Send us a PM 💌 #newcolor #flaak #keratopigmentation #visumax #visumax800 #eye #eyecolorchange ♬ son original - new_color_flaak

A quick stalk through this patient's TikTok account, and you'll find her living her best life, with a jazzy new set of vibrant blue eyes. But is it all as straightforward as it looks?

According to experts, having unnecessary surgery on your eyes is not something you want to mess with.

So, what exactly does colour-changing eye surgery involve? And what are the real risks of conditions including blindness? 

To find out more, Mamamia spoke with Dr Jacqueline Beltz, ophthalmologist, co-president of the Australasian Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, CEO and founder of OKKIYO

What is eye colour changing surgery?

According to our expert, there's actually two different types of colour changing eye surgery. The first involves iris implant surgery. 

"In this procedure, an artificial iris is placed inside each eye with the intention being to change the appearance of the colour of the eyes," explain Dr Beltz. 

"The pupil remains fixed after this surgery and the natural iris is still present, but is covered up."

The second surgery is known as 'keratopigmentation' — which looks like the same procedure used by the French company. It involves corneal tattooing — literally using a laser to place pigment in your eye. 

And yes, it looks terrifying:


With eye tattooing, Dr Beltz told Mamamia: "In corneal tattooing, pigment is injected into the cornea."

"Whilst in the past (rarely these days) this procedure has been used to improve comfort or appearance of a blind eye, this surgery is not safe or recommended for a well seeing eye due to the fact it is irreversible and carries risks of permanent visual loss."

What does this procedure involve? 

In the implant surgery procedure, Dr Beltz explained that incisions are placed into the cornea (the clear part at the front of the eye). She said, "the silicone-based iris prosthesis (artificial iris) is then rolled up and injected into the front of the eye, where it is unrolled and sits in front of the natural iris."  


"Behind the natural iris is the natural lens, which can also be affected by this surgery. This surgery would usually be performed under local anaesthetic, in a surgery facility. This means that the patient would be awake, able to hear, but not see or feel the procedure."  


"This surgery would normally be done on both eyes either on the same day or only a few days apart. It’s important to note that this means that both eyes are subjected to significant risk," Dr Beltz said. 

Obviously when this surgery is done for medical reasons, it's a little different as the natural lens is removed so it doesn't cause any damage or complications, she added. 

Which brings us to...

What are the risks?

In short, there are many risks associated with colour changing eye procedures. And by the sounds of it, it's not something you want to mess around with.

In fact, New York Post reported that a patient travelled to Colombia to change her hazel eyes to a bright grey, undergoing the silicone implant option. She reportedly lost 80 per cent of her vision in her right eye and 50 per cent in her left.

"Before this surgery, my eyes were completely healthy. They were in really good condition. I was naive," she said, according to an article in Healthline.


Dr Beltz went on to list a whole series of risks for iris implant surgery, including permanent visual loss, sensitivity to light, glaucoma (or high pressure inside the eye), corneal damage, inflammation, cataract and infection.

For corneal tattooing, the list is similar, but also includes things like inflammatory reaction to the dye, migration or leakage of the dye into the eye, uneven distribution/spreading of the dye and poor results.

The end result of most things listed, she said, is irreversible/permanent visual loss. 

"Serious risks have been reported from both cosmetic iris implant surgeries and corneal tattooing," she says.

"The effects of cosmetic eye surgery are often lifelong, meaning that they continue even after the implants have been removed.

"The inside of the eye is very delicate and extremely sensitive to the effects of inflammation. Any eye surgery causes inflammation, but the presence of an artificial iris on top of a natural iris can result in a lot of inflammation. This can go on to cause a cascade of problems, all of which can permanently threaten vision.

"Another serious complication can be corneal failure. The cornea is the clear layer on the outside of the eye, it’s like the window that we look through to have good vision. It’s clear for a reason, and injecting dye into it is risky and at best permanently reduces the quality of vision."


Will it become available in Australia?

So, are these procedures available in Australia for cosmetic use? 

"Prosthetic iris surgery is already available in Australia, but not for cosmetic indications," Dr Beltz told us. 

"There is a prosthetic (artificial) iris that has been approved by the therapeutic goods association (TGA) of Australia, however this is not for cosmetic use. We perform this surgery for natural or acquired absence of all or part of the iris.

"In these cases, the iris is not placed directly on top of the existing iris, hence reducing the risk of inflammation. The decision in these cases is made over quite a period of time to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risk and that the patient completely understands the risks and the benefits."

Although accredited health practitioner do perform this surgery for cosmetic reasons in Australia, Dr Beltz said people do seek it out overseas, or travel to have the procedures done.  

Meaning? They're often sent home with a string of complications and end up in our public health system for treatment and management of the complications. 

As Dr Beltz shared, "A young woman had had iris implant surgery done overseas to change her eye colour from dark brown to bright green. She told me that she loved the appearance of her implants. She had all of the complications — starting with inflammation, progressing to glaucoma, cataract and then corneal failure."

"She attended just about every eye clinic in our hospital, had the implants removed, needed appointments extremely frequently for years, couldn’t work for ages, had multiple other eye surgeries in attempt to manage the complications, and ultimately lost a large proportion of her vision from that surgery."


What's a safe way to change the colour of your eyes?

"No surgery is free of risk, especially eye surgery. When making any surgical decision, it’s very important to weigh up the risks versus the benefits," Dr Beltz told us. 

"A decision to have cosmetic surgery on the eyes is not the same as the decision to have something done to the rest of the body. Due to the extreme importance of eyesight and the delicate nature of that sense."  

Read: You literally only have one set of eyes. And you don't want to f**k them up. It's just not worth risking your eyesight for. 

For somebody that is very keen on changing the colour of their eyes, Dr Beltz recommends seeing an eye health professional (your optometrist), to see if you are a good candidate for cosmetic contact lenses.

"Even cosmetic contacts carry some risk, and I’m not a fan of using them for events like Halloween/costume parties, but with the right training, techniques and products these still remain a much safer option than surgery."

What do you think of the viral eye surgery? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature Image: TikTok/ @new_color_flaak.

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