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A dangerous new fad has been imported to the United States from Europe that could pose a serious risk to eye health for those who take part in it. This new trend is eyeball jewelry — tiny platinum implants that are embedded in the eye. Both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry are urging consumers to stay away from eyeball jewelry, especially since the practice has not been approved medically-safe by the FDA.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF EYEBALL JEWELRY?

Eyeball jewelry is a purely cosmetic procedure that has not been proven safe and is not associated with any medical benefits. Additionally, the jewelry has not demonstrated the ability to stay in place, which has raised many concerns regarding its safety. In fact, some ophthalmologists worry that the jarring motion of a blow to the head or the whipping motion of the head and neck during a car accident may be enough to dislodge the jewelry. The tissues of the eye are soft, and dislodged eyeball jewelry could pose a serious risk for laceration to the conjunctiva (the clear layer of the eye) and to the structures underneath. Cuts may lead to bleeding, and if cuts are deep enough, the eye could be punctured.

Any foreign material in the eye also increases the risk of infections that range from mild conjunctivitis (pink eye) to more serious infections, including blindness. Is a little eyeball bling worth the risk of blindness? Neither the American Academy of Ophthalmology nor the American Academy of Optometry think so, and urge consumers to avoid this fad.

HOW IS EYEBALL JEWELRY PLACED?

To implant the tiny piece of platinum in the eye, the eye must be kept open with a speculum — a tool that holds the eyelids apart and prevents eyes from blinking or shutting. Then, a tiny blade or scissors is used to make an incision between the conjunctiva (the clear protective membrane) and the sclera (the white of the eye). The eyeball jewelry is then inserted through the incision and connective tissue is moved and placed around the implant. However, there is no guarantee that the connective tissue will hold the implant in place.

FOREIGN BODIES IN THE EYE

Eyeball jewelry is considered a foreign body, and it is placed under the layer of the eye that functions as the eye’s natural barrier to prevent foreign matter from entering the eye. The level of risk with purposely crossing this barrier for the purpose of surgically implanting any device that does not improve or sustain vision is of great concern. Unnecessary implants such as eyeball jewelry are potentially blinding, and is considered high-risk for vision-threatening complications.

To learn more about potential dangers to your vision and how to preserve your vision for life, call Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816) 358-3600. We would love to see you for routine eye examinations, and we are always available to assist you with any eye health or vision concerns.

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