Can LASIK Change Eye Color?

What Is LASIK and Can It Change My Eye Color? LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a groundbreaking surgical technique designed to correct various common vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It is a procedure that has revolutionized the field of ophthalmology and offered millions of individuals the opportunity to achieve improved […]

does lasik change eye color

What Is LASIK and Can It Change My Eye Color?

LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a groundbreaking surgical technique designed to correct various common vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It is a procedure that has revolutionized the field of ophthalmology and offered millions of individuals the opportunity to achieve improved vision.

Many people wonder if LASIK eye surgery can be used to permanently change eye color. The answer is, quite simply, no; LASIK does not alter the color of the eye. However, there are a few situations where eye color can change that do not involve LASIK eye surgery.

Illness or Medication

The part of the eye structure that gives one’s eye color is called the “iris”. It can be found behind one’s cornea (the outermost clear covering of the eye) and the amount of pigment cells contained by the iris will determine the exact eye color seen by others.

Some medications can cause iris depigmentation (where the iris becomes lighter) or hyperpigmentation (where the iris becomes darker). One common medication linked to changing eye color is LATISSE®. LATTISE® is used to grow and lengthen eyelashes. In rare cases, it has caused a permanent increase in brown pigment in the iris.[i]

Some disorders of the eyes can also lead to permanent color changes in the iris via persistent inflammation or pathological cellular growth. Therefore, if you experience an unintended change in your eye color, it could indicate an eye health issue and you should make an appointment with your eye doctor to have a check-up.

Cosmetic Eye Color Change Surgery

Not to be confused with LASIK eye surgery, cosmetic laser eye surgery is a newer experimental procedure that uses a laser to induce permanent changes in one’s eye color. A laser is used to deteriorate the brown pigment cells in the iris, creating a lighter eye color. At this time, it is only possible to change eyes from brown to blue this way. However, this procedure has yet to undergo clinical trial testing in United States and is considered controversial due to potential risks such as glaucoma.[ii] More clinical data will be required to determine its safety and other long-term effects that it may have on treated eyes.

Colored Contact Lenses

As per the current recommendation of American Academy of Ophthalmology, the safest way to temporarily alter eye color is to use colored contact lenses prescribed by your eye doctor.ii[CC1]   Colored contact lenses can range from subtle colors, meant to enhance your existing eye color, to dramatic colors, including intense hues and colors not found naturally (like violet). These colored contacts can be prescribed with your prescription (to both enhance vision and eye colors) or to be prescribed without optical power (serving only to change your eye color such as after your LASIK procedure). Keep in mind that, just like any other contact lenses, they must be fitted, cleaned, stored, and used appropriately. Leaving contacts in for too long or failing to clean or store them in the right solution can lead to eye health issues.[iii]

LASIK Eye Surgery vs Contact Lenses

Contact lenses may seem like a convenient solution at first, but the process is much more complicated than popping your contacts in at the start of the day. If contact lenses aren’t properly maintained each day, there could be more serious consequences to your eye health. This is true whether you’re wearing traditional contact lenses, or extended wear contacts.

Even if you’re meticulous about contact lens maintenance, there is the cost of the contacts themselves, the cost of solutions, the constant risk of losing a contact lens, and the time required to maintain your contacts each day. These inconveniences may have you searching for a better solution.

Ultimately, if you do choose to alter or enhance your eye color, you should do so safely. If you choose to explore LASIK eye surgery, you can experience improved vision while keeping your eye color perfectly intact!

In conclusion, does LASIK change your eye color? The short answer is a resounding “no.” LASIK is focused on correcting vision, not altering eye color. LASIK surgery is intricately designed with the sole purpose of rectifying vision imperfections—be it nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism—thereby enhancing your overall vision. LASIK reshapes the cornea to correct how light rays enter and are focused onto the retina. This meticulous process is miles away from influencing the iris, which is the part of the eye responsible for its color. Hence, the notion of LASIK affecting eye color is a misconception that deviates from the procedure’s true intent and capabilities. The technology and methodology behind LASIK are honed for vision correction, steering entirely clear from the domain of altering the aesthetic aspects of the eye, such as its color.

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FAQs On Eye Color Change:

Is it possible for eye color to change naturally over time?

Yes, it’s possible, especially in children. Eye color can change in the first few years of life due to the development of melanin.


Can eye color vary with mood or lighting?

While it might seem like your eyes change color with mood or lighting, what’s actually changing is how the light is absorbed and reflected by the iris.


How common is it for adults to experience a change in eye color?

It’s quite rare for adults to see a significant change in eye color. Minor variations might occur, but a complete color change is highly uncommon without intervention.


Can diet or health changes affect eye color?

There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that diet or general health changes can alter eye color significantly.


What is the most unusual eye color?

Green is the rarest eye color, found in only about 2% of the world’s population. It’s the result of a low level of melanin combined with the Rayleigh scattering of light.


[i] Can Latisse cause my eyes to change color. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://care.getroman.com/hc/en-us/articles/360025255852-Can-Latisse-Cause-My-Eyes-to-Change-Color-

[ii] Dang, S. (2015). Laser surgery to change eye color untested for safety risks.  Retrieved from https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/laser-surgery-to-change-eye-color

[iii]American Optometric Association. (2019). Healthy vision and contact lenses. Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/contact-lenses

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