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Severe glaucoma and vision loss due to cosmetic iris implants

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To the Editor: With medical tourism on the rise, public education concerning the risks of procedures performed abroad is imperative to the health and wellbeing of the Australian population. The insertion of cosmetic iris implants is a procedure currently promoted overseas. Here, we describe an example of the risks associated with this procedure.

A 26-year-old man presented with acute right eye pain, conjunctival erythema and a high intraocular pressure of 40 mmHg (normal intraocular pressure is 11–21 mmHg). Secondary angle closure glaucoma was diagnosed.

Three years before presentation, the patient had bilateral NewColorIris implants inserted in Panama City. Removal of the implants was recommended but the patient initially declined. Medical glaucoma therapy was instituted. The glaucoma progressed and the eye became inflamed. The right iris implant was removed (Box).

A trabeculectomy enhanced with mitomycin C was required to control the intraocular pressure. The left implant was subsequently removed due to progressive glaucoma, and the left eye also required trabeculectomy enhanced with mitomycin C. This trabeculectomy failed, and the patient has recently undergone left glaucoma tube insertion (Baerveldt BG 101-350 Glaucoma Implant, Abbott Medical Optics). The patient’s visual function declined due to progressive, irreversible glaucomatous…