Claire Bates, Daily Mail (London), November 2, 2011
Ever wished you were the blue-eyed boy? You soon could be, after a doctor revealed he can permanently change a person’s eye colour in just 20 seconds.
Dr Gregg Homer, from Stroma Medical in California said his Lumineyes technology uses a laser tuned to a specific frequency to turn brown eyes to blue.
The laser energy removes the brown pigment, or melanin, from the top layer of the iris, and the blue eye colour emerges over the following two to three weeks.
It would provide an alternative to those who wanted lighter eyes without resorting to cosmetic contact lenses.
However the procedure–which Dr Homer has developed over 10 years–is irreversible because the brown tissue cannot regenerate.
Stroma Medical has started limited human testing but is seeking up to £500,000 to complete clinical trials.
If all goes to plan Dr Homer says the procedure could be available outside the U.S within 18 months and inside the U.S in three years.
The former entertainment lawyer said the operation would cost around £3,000.
Dr Homer told KTLA Morning News that thousands of prospective clients had contacted him by email to express their interest.
‘They say the eyes are the windows to the soul,’ he told ktla.com.
‘A blue eye is not opaque, you can see deeply into it, while a brown eye is very opaque. I think there is something very meaningful about this idea of having open windows to the soul.’
CEO of Stroma Medical, Doug Daniels, admitted he wasn’t sure about the concept when Dr Homer first told him about it.
‘I was very sceptical frankly, but I learned a long time ago that all the great ideas start out as blasphemy,’ he said.
Eye colour is inherited, however brown eyes are dominant across the world while blue eyes are a recessive trait.
A blue eye pigment doesn’t actually exist in nature. Instead, people with blue eyes have a brown pigment, known as melamin, at the back of their irises but have low concentrations of melanin in the front of their irises.
This means longer wavelengths of light are absorbed by the dark back of the eye, while the shorter wavelengths are scattered.
In 2008, scientists from the University of Copenhagen, found that all people with blue eyes were descended from a single ancestor with a blue eye mutation who lived six to 10,000 years ago.
Study leader Professor Eiberg said before this time, everyone had brown eyes.
The mutation of brown eyes to blue represents neither a positive nor a negative mutation. It is one of several mutations such as hair colour, baldness, freckles and beauty spots, which neither increases nor reduces a human’s chance of survival.
Professor Eiberg said at the time: ‘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.’