Medical tourism risking eye sight
in Dry eye and blepharitis, Education, News, Ocular Surface Disease
6 Mar 2015
The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) , has published a letter to the editor by doctors from the Save Sight Institute, Sydney Eye Hospital and South Western Eye Care highlighting the serious risks encountered by patients who travel overseas for eye treatments.
According to Professor John Grigg, head of Discipline at The University of Sydney’s Save Sight Institute “Cosmetic eye treatments in particular, such as iris implants to change eye colour, can have disastrous consequences. This can include severe glaucoma and vision loss. We strongly discourage people from undertaking such a procedure because the risks are unacceptably high”.
Such cosmetic eye treatments are rarely performed in Australia or New Zealand.
Ophthalmologists warned that medical tourism for any type of eye surgery can present risks to the patient which should be very carefully considered.
Inadequate controls around sterilisation and infection control can lead to complications after the patient returns home to Australia following laser, cataract or cosmetic eye surgery overseas.
Side effects such as dry eyes, halos and blurry vision can last for six months or longer and all of these symptoms, or more serious issues such as scarring, retinal detachment or corneal detachment, require referral to an ophthalmologist immediately. Overseas medical tourism can place a burden on our local health system.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has also recently issued a warning to consumers not to undergo cosmetic iris implant surgery to change eye colour because the procedure has the capacity to cause serious eye damage, vision loss and blindness.
According to the research team “Cosmetic iris implants carry a high risk of irreversible visual loss. We highlight this risk for patients considering medical tourism and urge primary care providers to review the current literature before offering advice regarding this procedure”.
- John Grigg, MD, FRANZCO, FRACS, Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney
- Dominic McCall MBBS, BSc, Sydney Eye Hospital
- Alex Hamilton BMed, MPHTM, Sydney Eye Hospital
- Son Chau-Vo MBBS(Hons), FRANZCO