Whitening and brightening your eyes.
We have to give Heidi Montag credit for knowing when to say when. After ordering up 10 cosmetic procedures in a single day, LookinGood thinks she showed great restraint in deciding against the eye whitening surgery.
Yes, you read it correctly: eye whitening surgery. Dr. Brian Boxer-Wachler, an eye surgeon in (where else?) Los Angeles, performs what he calls the I-Brite Eye Whitening System – a surgical procedure that removes a thin, discolored membrane from your eye, revealing the brighter white underneath. A new, supposedly clearer membrane grows back, and the patient is left with whiter eyes. In theory anyway; the procedure is fairly new to the U.S., so the results are expected to be long-lasting, but that remains to be, um, seen.
Why, or how, would our membranes be discolored in the first place, you might wonder? It could be due to pollution, too much sun, cigarette smoke. dust – or what Grandma used to call “liver strips.” those yellowish strips that appeared after a night of too much alcohol.
Currently Boxer-Wachler’s Vision Institute is the only place in the United States that performs the controversial surgery for cosmetic purposes. His website calls Boxer-Wachler the “inventor” of I-Brite, but doesn’t sound much different from conjunctivoplasty, any eye surgery to remove pterygium, or growths in the eyes – usually red or brown spots, on the membrane.
I-Brite also sounds a lot like the Cosmetic Eye Whitening Surgery Dr. Bong-Hyun Kim started performing (and trademarked!) 13 years ago in Seoul. Next up for Dr. Kim, who has performed more than 13,000 of the surgeries on people from around the world, is establishing a practice in the U.S.
But really, is cutting a piece of your eye out really the best way to remedy bloodshot eyes? Some eye surgeons would say no, not without having a medical reason.
An ophthalmologist in LA, Dr. Allan Berg, told a local ABC station there that the membrane (conjunctiva) is there for a reason: the blood vessels supply oxygen to the eye. Removing them could result in dryness (it’s awful – imagine taping sandpaper inside your eyelids), scarring and possibly infection.
And consider the cost: $3,000-$5,000 per EYE, and insurance doesn’t cover it. The procedure itself takes about 20 minutes, and downtime is a day, although there could be scratchiness, redness and irritability for several weeks as the new membrane grows back.
If we here at LookinGood were making a list of things we won’t try, conjunctivoplasty (or I-Brite or Cosmetic Eye Whitening Surgery) would be one of the few things on it. Heck, it might be the only thing on it. We will stick to eye drops, dark glasses and our well-rehearsed vows never drink that much again.