American singer changes iris colour through implant

Toryn Green, American singer-actor based in Los Angeles, who has undergone prosthetic iris implant in Tiruch.— PHOTO: M. SRINATH  

An American singer-actor-medical student has had his iris colour changed from brown to blue-grey with the help of a city-based ophthalmology hospital this week.

Toryn Green, former vocalist for rock bands Fuel, Emphatic, For the Taking, and the 2008 lead touring singer for Finnish group Apocalyptica, was operated on by Dr. Shibu Varkey and his team of the Vasan Eye Care Hospital on Tuesday, in a 40-minute procedure under local anaesthesia.

In this surgery, to insert the artificial iris, the surgeon created a “2.8-mm window” in the cornea. Through it, the silicone implant (12.5 mm in diameter) was inserted and placed over the natural iris. The surgery cost between Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 4 lakh and recovery time was pegged at three days to a week.

“I had worn coloured contact lenses all my life. Because they were prescription, I needed them to see,” Mr. Green told The Hindu on Wednesday. “I just got so used to them being of a certain colour that after I got corrective laser surgery … I was back to my natural colour.”

There was nothing wrong with his hazel brown eyes, the Los Angeles, California-based entertainer added. “But I had developed a whole new personality with the coloured contacts. I always used to see people with grey or blue eyes standing out in a crowd. Being in the music industry and acting, the cameras are always there, and you always want to be the standout.”

“Prosthetic iris implant is done after a detailed eye check where it is ascertained that the procedure is completely safe for the individual,” said Dr. Shibu Varkey.

“The main parameter is the anterior chamber depth (of the eyeball) and endothelial cell counts (on the inner surface of the cornea). If these are in the required level then problems generally don't occur.”

Dr. Varkey added that Mr. Green had recovered immediately after surgery and was able to see clearly in two hours.

“The artificial iris is a silicone implant that is designed to be implanted surgically on top of the natural iris, in a way that allows for free circulation of the intra-ocular fluid in normal eyes so that eye pressure remains normal after surgery,” he said.

Three follow-up checks would be done for the next year, in Los Angeles. Mr. Green has been told to avoid heavy gym workouts until the healing process was complete, in order to keep the eye pressure stable.

The entertainer would be seen in the Hollywood fantasy action film Skate God this year. He is a medical student in bio-psychology and is interested in reconstructive plastic surgery. “I’ve always been fascinated by surgery and I think my artistic side will help me shine in that as well,” he said.

Tiruchi is one of three centres in the world where the iris implant procedure is done. As of now, 180 such operations have been completed in the city, said Dr. Varkey.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 2:02:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/american-singer-changes-iris-colour-through-implant/article7083810.ece

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