“Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” is a country-pop music song by Crystal Gayle (Crystal has blue eyes) that was popular in the 70’s. Today, the reality is that making brown eyes blue is a real process made possible through eye surgery.
A California doctor has made it a dream come true for many wanting a change in eye color. By performing a quick procedure using laser surgery, he is showing that he can permanently change a person’s eye color in less than thirty seconds. Doctor Gregg Homer, who works at Stroma Medical Center in Laguna Beach, California, uses a special kind of laser to change the eye color from brown (the most common type of eye color) to blue, using his Lumineyes technology.
The laser works by burning the brown color pigment also know as melanin contained in the upper layer of the iris and the result is baby blue eyes within two to three weeks. The Lumineye technology shaves one layer of brown pigment leaving one blue layer instead. You can see the results below, in a patient on the lower half of the eye.
Stroma Medical CEO, Doug Daniels was skeptical at first when Doctor Homer first told him about his procedure. Eye color is an inherited characteristic, and brown eyes are the most common color type. A blue pigment does not normally exist in nature, people with blue eyes actually have lower concentrations of melanin (pigment) in the front of the iris thus their eyes are blue. People with higher concentration of melanin in the front of the iris have dark-colored eyes.
In 2008, scientists from the Copenhagen University showed that all blue-eyed people are the descendants of a singer ancestor carrying a mutation for blue eyes that lived ten thousand years ago. Before that all humans had brown eyes according to Professor Eiberg (study leader). This mutation is not considered either bad or good, but part of the many mutations that shape our daily life as hair color, nose length, predisposition to certain diseases and so on.
“It simply shows that nature is constantly shuffling the human genome, creating a genetic cocktail of human chromosomes and trying out different changes as it does so,” Professor Eiberg stated.
More research is needed to determine if there are any long-term effects. One expert recently warned about possible complications. “The pigment released from the iris has to go somewhere,” Dr. Elmer Tu, an associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of Illinois in Chicago and a spokesman for the American College of Ophthalmology, has said. He noted that a potentially blinding condition called pigmentary glaucoma is associated with chronic seepage of melanin into the fluid within the eye.