A new fashion fad is beginning, but is it really worth the dangers? The newest trend in jewelry is to have jewels implanted into your eye. Yes, you read that right! This new, unbelievable trend is called extraocular implants. Some of you may be asking “Why?” while others, no doubt, are asking “How can I get that done?” Or maybe you are just intrigued by the thought and are leaving your opinion open until you get more facts.
The jewelry actually consists of a small piece of platinum. It comes in a few different shapes. The shapes include a heart, four-leaf clover, a music note and the Euro symbol. The piece of platinum is implanted in the eye and then is visible to others when they are looking at you. The procedure and jewelry were first developed in the Netherlands in 2002 at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery. It was named and marketed as JewelEye. It has taken a little while to gain popularity around the globe, but the eye jewelry is now slowly making its way to the United States.
The surgery consists of a doctor first immobilizing your eyes with anesthetic drops. Then the doctor takes a pair of tiny scissors to make a small incision in the clear surface of the eye. A small amount of liquid is injected into the incision to separate the layers of the eye and the tiny piece of jewelry is then slid between the two layers. Some connective material is put on both sides of the jewelry to keep it from moving freely around the eye (and potentially causing damage).
Risks of Eye Jewelry
This surgery is not without risks. The American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend this type of surgery or implants at this time. They stated, “The American Academy of Ophthalmology has not identified sufficient evidence to support the safety or therapeutic value of this procedure.” Complications from this procedure include blindness from ocular infection or bleeding, perforation of the eye, conjunctivitis and bleeding beneath the conjunctiva.
A few doctors in the United States have begun doing the procedure, but it is not widespread yet. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not given its approval for the procedure because of the risks involved. The FDA stated the same warning that the American Academy of Ophthalmology did — stating there was insufficient evidence regarding the safety or value of the procedure. The FDA also advised, “avoid placing in the eye any foreign body or material that is not approved by the FDA.”
Some places in the United States are taking a proactive approach to this fad and banning it before it even becomes available. The state of Illinois placed a ban on the surgery in 2005. The penalty for doctors who do the procedure in Illinois could be as stiff as three years in prison plus fines.
In the Netherlands, the procedure is legal as long as it is performed by a licensed ophthalmologist under sterile conditions. There are two clinics in the Netherlands who perform the procedure, the Cornea Clinic and Oogzorgcentrum Driebergen.
Cost of Implants
In the United States, a few doctors are performing the procedure in California and New York. The charge for the US procedure has been around $3000 to $4000. In the Netherlands the rate is around 750€ which is approximately $1,105 in US dollars. If you are determined to have the procedure done, a good choice might be to fly to the Netherlands to have it done.
The cost is lower and they have more experience with the procedure. On top of that, the savings from the procedure could help offset the cost of the travel. At the clinic in New York which performs the procedure, they are even considering adding the option of changing out the design of your jewelry for only $1000 more.
Although the fad has yet to really catch on in the United States, it gets a pretty mixed set of reviews by the public. Some people think that it is just yet another interesting way to personalize their body. Others find the whole thought of sticking something unnecessary in your eye disgusting. As long as there is a market for it and the FDA doesn’t deem the procedure or the implant as dangerous, then this trend may be here to stay. It could even become as popular as tattoos someday.
If you are seeking out ways to add a little bling to your eyes or make them stand out, there are less invasive ways to accomplish that. One of the other popular trends for changing the appearance of your eyes is with decorative contact lenses. These contact lenses are not designed to correct your vision, but instead change the look of your eyes.
Some people get them to change the color of their eyes, while others do it with special effects — making their eyes appear completely different (like a cat’s eye or ghoulish). Another choice is false eyelashes with rhinestones attached to the lashes. And one more option is to glue rhinestones on the skin around the eyes.
All of these options also come with risks. The contacts can lead to eye infections or possible scratches to you eye. The other two options can lead to skin damage because of the glue. They also pose a danger to your eyes because the rhinestones can fall into your eyes, scratching the surface.
So, how far will you go to stand out? Is this fad here to stay or will it fade fast?