Insurance companies do not cover elective eye surgeries, such as eye color surgery, that are not medically necessary, states WebMD. As of 2015, silicone iris implants do not have U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, according to Gretchyn M. Bailey for Optometry Times.
Iris implant surgery was developed to treat people who have suffered traumatic eye injury or atrophy of the iris, states Bailey. During iris implant surgery, the patient's corneas are cut, and a silicone iris is inserted over the natural iris, which is the colored ring around the pupil. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic. BrightOcular, which makes iris implants, notes that the implants are U.S. patent-approved, which is not the same as U.S. FDA-approved.
The procedure is not performed in the United States, explains Bailey, and is strongly discouraged because it carries a risk of serious vision damage as a result. Documented complications from iris implant surgery include cataracts, blurry vision, injury to the cornea and glaucoma. As of 2013, iris implants have not been evaluated by any regulatory agency, and no clinical trials have been conducted, according to Abby Ellin for The New York Times. Bailey recommends people interested in changing their eye color talk to an ophthalmologist or consider colored contact lenses.