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Dr. Steinsapir Featured in The New York Times

Published on February 10, 2013



Dr. Steinsapir Featured in The New York Times

If you keep up with the New York Times, one of the most reputable newspapers in the world, you may have read about Dr. Steinsapir in the recent article Looking for a Match. Published on January 2, 2013, this report takes a hard look at a relatively new surgery designed to change the color of the iris. This procedure, which is being offered in a few places outside of the United States, surgically changes eye color by implanting an artificial iris that cosmetically changes the appearance of the iris color.

This sounds appealing to some individuals who have always wished for a different eye color, or who have eyes of different colors and wish for symmetry. However, this surgery is a risky one that can seriously alter your vision, and at this time the potential complications do not justify undergoing this surgery for purely cosmetic reasons. An ethical and reputable surgeon should only recommend a type of iris implant surgery on an individual basis for serious medical needs that require attention, and frankly do not include changing eye color. As the Times reported:

“Dr. Kenneth Steinsapir, an oculofacial surgeon and ophthalmologist in Los Angeles, also received calls from patients wanting their eye color changed, so he began investigating New Color Iris. He found no positive reports, but he did find a number of studies reporting serious complications. In July 2010, he blogged about it on his Web site, lidlift.com. ‘The colored disk that is put in the eye has been shown to cause harm,’ he wrote. ‘If you are not albino and missing iris pigment or have part of the iris missing either from a birth defect or from trauma, then there is no compelling medical reason for this surgery.’” — Abby Ellin, The New York Times, January 2, 2013

When Dr. Steinsapir received inquiries about the surgery from those potentially interested in surgically altering their eye color, he investigated the surgery, its advertised claims, its scientific outlook, and all the information available on this controversial surgery that is gaining interest. Not surprisingly, he found studies that reported complications, and information that raised questions about the reputability of claims. These surgery advertisements are not marketed in a transparent way, and upon Dr. Steinsapir’s research, willingness to speak up, as well as expertise in opthalmology, his professional opinion has been sought by many regarding the advisability and risks of flying outside the country in order to undergo this surgery. For good reason, it seems very unlikely that eye color surgery will gain F.D.A. approval in the foreseeable near future.

Dr. Steinsapir quickly became a leading voice on this rising issue as more and more people took interest in the new eye color surgery. As an ethical philosophy and treatment approach, Dr. Steinsapir advocates for minimally invasive treatments that rely on cosmetic procedures rather than surgery whenever possible, and conservative surgical approaches when indicated — so naturally he would recommend colored contact lenses over a surgery in the area of so many crucial functions of the eye. But this surgery goes beyond giving preference to safe nonsurgical procedures over safe surgical procedures — for example, opting for proven BOTOX treatment instead of a proven forehead lift — because eye color surgery has not been shown to be safe. In fact there have been both personal anecdotal stories of negative experiences with the surgery, as well as published scientific papers highlighting the concerns and complications that physicians have observed.

At a time when not much is known about a newly marketed cosmetic surgery for the eye itself, Dr. Steinsapir’s opinion as highlighted in the New York Times is not only an educated medical position, but it is also a sound of reason. You can read more about the report’s findings, including interviews with an individual who pursued the surgery and experienced complications, as well as commentary by Dr. Steinsapir and others. The take-home message in the Times seems clear: instead of a risky new surgery about which relatively little is currently known, and which would surely be discouraged by your personal ophthalmologist (eye MD), please understand that surgery to permanently change your eye color is not a safe option.

To read the full story, visit the New York Times article here:

This feature about Dr. Steinsapir is a testament to his leadership, reputation, and expertise as a world-renowned oculofacial surgeon who focuses on achieving natural results by minimally invasive cosmetic treatments and nonaggressive surgeries that are considered to be safe and effective. To learn more about Dr. Steinsapir’s experience and commitment to achieving the absolute best results possible in a safe, ethical, and scientifically proven manner, contact us today.