Why anyone would mess with their eyes is beyond me. Three years ago, Beatriz Murillo, 36, travelled from Toronto to a clinic in Panama, where she paid $8,000 to have a silicone disc placed on top of her irises to lighten the color from brown to green. Apparently Murillo didn’t know about these things called colored contacts.
“I’m an artist and I’m afraid I’m never going to be able to paint again,” said Murillo.
Last year Murillo’s eyes took a turn for the worst. She started feeling stabbing and pressure in her surgically enhanced peepers. Since her surgery, Murillo’s had two glaucoma surgeries and a cornea transplant that her body rejected, and she can now only see vague shapes and colours.
“Essentially, she’s legally blind now in both eyes, despite the fact that these artificial implants have been removed,” said Dr. Allen Slomovic, Murillo’s ophthalmologist, noting she can only count fingers 0.6 metres in front of her face, which is significantly worse than legal blindness.
“I think the lesson Beatriz has taught us is to be very cautious when dealing with cosmetic implants.”
Dr. Ike Ahmed, an eye surgeon at Mississauga’s Credit Valley Hospital, has seen two similar cases of people needing medical and surgical treatment.
Iris implants can irritate the delicate eye, Ahmed noted.
“These are some of the complications that we are seeing, unfortunately, with this device causing inflammation in the eye, causing bleeding and causing glaucoma, all of which can cause serious vision-threatening problems,” Ahmed warned.
Non-cosmetic iris implants have been used on people who were born without irises or have a torn or damaged iris, ophthalmologists say.
$8,000 later and eyesight issues? Although Murillo’s story is a year old, it’s a cautionary tale for people. But then again, I’m sure there’s someone flying to Panama right now looking to make their brown eyes blue.