Risks of eye-whitening surgery - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Risks of eye-whitening surgery

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Your eyes are first thing you see staring back at you when you look in the mirror. Eyes are literally a window into our health, emotions, personality and, of course, how we look to ourselves and to others. Now there is a relatively new medical cosmetic procedure some eye doctors are performing to surgically whiten the eyes.

Dr. J.P. Dunn, an eye surgeon and medical director at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, says eye whitening works by surgically stopping blood flow to some of the blood vessels in the eyes. He says that by inhibiting blood vessel growth, the eye will look much whiter. But the procedure, only developed four years ago in Korea, is risky and not necessarily rewarding.

Dr. Dunn says vision loss has been reported but is rare. Also, you could end up with more redness and more irritation than you had before the surgery. He says he has had to surgically correct botched cosmetic eye whitening jobs. One patient came to him with ulcers in his eyes that if not treated could have led to blindness.

In fact, the procedure is so new it has a high rate of complications and has been banned in some countries.

It is also costly: $3,000 to $5,000 per eye.

The risks have not stopped people from requesting it in the ever ending quest for beauty. And we found plenty of doctors willing to do it.

So what can you do about chronic red eyes if you don't want cosmetic surgery? Doctors say get an eye exam. Redness could indicate an underlying, undiagnosed health problem. Also, medications can help. And don't smoke, avoid air pollution, and get enough sleep.

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