Latest fashion fad concerns eye M.D.s

April 13, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO--News about it is spreading over the Internet. It's the topic of discussion on morning television talk shows. It's the latest fashion fad coming out of Europe. But it is raising an eyebrow of concern for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Eye M.D. Association. Tiny pieces of jewelry, in the shapes that range from hearts to half moons, are implanted into the eye's mucous membrane or the conjunctiva.

"My concern would be that it might cause foreign body granuloma or scar tissue," said Academy spokesperson, Wayne Bizer, D.O., a comprehensive ophthalmologist from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. "The implant could also allow bacteria to get beneath the conjunctiva causing a serious vision-threatening infection or possibly erode the sclera, the white part of the eye." Dr. Bizer added removing the implant may prove difficult if any of these problems are present.

According to the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery, the cosmetic extraocular implant does not interfere with visual performance or motility. In a news statement, they claim they have not seen any side effects or complications from the implants. In the Netherlands, the eye jewelry or "JewelEye" can only be implanted by registered ophthalmologists in clinics.

"As with any kind of surgery, people who are thinking about getting these implants should seriously consider what the health risks might be," Dr. Bizer said. For those interested in getting the implants, they'll have to travel to the Netherlands. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the implants would most likely be considered medical devices and would have to go through the approval process before being available in the United States.
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The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons--Eye M.D.s--with more than 27,000 members. For more information about eye health care, visit the Academy's partner Web site, the Medem Network, at www.medem.com/eyemd. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at www.aao.org.

American Academy of Ophthalmology

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