Stroma Medical Corporation is a research and development company that patented a laser system to permanently change the color of a person’s eyes.
Unique shades of blue, hazel, gray, and amber can typically be found underneath the darker pigment of an eye. The laser surgery brings these underlying shades of color to the forefront, providing patients with lighter eyes.
How the Procedure Works
There is a thin brown pigment layer that covers the surface of the iris in darker eyes. During the surgery to change eye color, a physician inserts a low-energy laser into the eye to disrupt this brown layer, revealing the colors underneath.
Each eye takes about 30 seconds to complete. It is a painless process that requires no recovery time.
Patients might need to return for more surgeries depending on how dark their eyes are. The procedure cannot make lighter colored eyes appear darker
Who Is a Candidate for Permanent Eye Color Change Surgery?
The procedure is exclusively performed for cosmetic reasons in an effort to give extra confidence to the patient.
A candidate for the procedure needs to have healthy eyes with no medical issues or prior ocular damage.
Risks of the Stroma Medical Procedure
Even though the procedure is done so quickly, and it is painless, there are potential risks involved with laser eye color surgery, including these:
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Redness, inflammation, and swelling
- Early onset cataracts
- Partial or total blindness
How Much Does It Cost to Get Eye Pigment Surgery?
Ophthalmologists who are licensed to perform the surgery will typically set their own price, but the procedure is estimated to cost around $5,000. Each patient is different, and some people require more follow-up surgeries than others, which can also add to the cost.
A local anesthetic is administered before the procedure begins. Then, a doctor uses a special, low-energy laser to raise and lower the temperature of the thin brown pigment layer that covers the surface of the iris 15 times over a period of 30 seconds per eye. The procedure is painless, and patients are able to go home immediately following the procedure.
There is no noticeable difference to the iris initially after the surgery. It can take up to three weeks for the patient to detect a change in eye color.
Depending on how naturally dark the eyes of the person are, a patient may have to get more than one procedure to fully remove the dark pigment layer.
Alternatives to Eye Color Change Surgery
Given the costs and potential risks of the Stroma Medical procedure, many people who wish to change the color of their eyes look into alternative methods.
Iris Implant Surgery
This procedure permanently changes the color of a person’s eye. Iris implant surgery was first implemented for people with damaged or missing irises, but it is now a popular and risky alternative to the Stroma laser procedure.
A surgeon will make an incision into the cornea and place a synthetic iris made of silicone over the real iris.
Risks of iris implant surgery include the following:
- Reduced vision or blindness
- Redness, inflammation, and swelling
A safe and more affordable alternative to laser surgery is wearing colored contact lenses. A person is not able to permanently change their eye color with contacts, but the lenses do temporarily distort the natural pigmentation of the iris.
Risks associated with wearing cosmetic contact lenses are similar to the complications of wearing regular contact lenses. They include mild eye trauma from inserting and taking out the lenses and microbial keratitis, a bacterial infection.
Colored contact lenses require a prescription from an eye doctor. Never buy colored contact lenses from a costume shop or unauthorized retailer, as it’s a sign that the product may not be safe.
Find the Right Doctor for You
If a person believes they are a good candidate for laser surgery to change their eye color, finding a licensed doctor is the next step. Reading online reviews of doctors or clinics is a good place to start when choosing an ophthalmologist. Look for someone who is experienced and has performed similar successful procedures in the past.
Cosmetic Change of the Apparent Color of the Eye: A Review on Surgical Alternatives, Outcomes and Complications. (January 2022). Springer Link.
Devastating Complication of Cosmetic Iris Implants. (August 2017). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
Iris Color and Associated Pathological Ocular Complications: A Review of Epidemiologic Studies. (October 2018). International Journal of Ophthalmology.
Laser Procedure Can Turn Brown Eyes Blue. (March 2015). CNN Business.
New Technique Changing Eyes From Brown to Blue Sparks Debate. (2016). Medill Reports Chicago.
Nutrition and Eye Health. (September 2019). Nutrients.
Permanent Iris Color Change. (August 2019). Modern Aesthetics.
A Review of Cosmetic Contact Lens Infections. (November 2018). Eye.
Last Updated November 1, 2022
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