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Beware Eye Colour Changing Scam

A local doctor asked me recently if I knew anything about 'these new eye lightening drops?’ This was the first I had heard about a new scam which originated in the Far East and has spread to the USA and is now here in the UK. This scam is being fueled by social media influencers who are promoting sponsored posts on Instagram about eye drops which claim to change your eye colour from brown to blue with absolutely no side effects!

How do these eye drops work?

Eye colour is determined by the amount of melanin in your iris. Blue eyes have less melanin than brown eyes. Melanin also determines skin colour and skin lightening (bleaching) lotions are very popular in the Far East where N-acetyl glucosamine is used in skin lightening lotions. N-acetyl glucosamine is added to basic eye drops to make ‘ eye colour changing’ drops. Although the bleaching effect may work on the melanin in the iris the concern is that it could also affect the pigment inside the eyes that allows us to see. Doctors in the USA fear a strong risk of blindness and allergic reactions.

What's the concern?

American doctors are concerned as these drops are widely advertised on social media in the USA where they are sold as cosmetics (not medicines) so don’t require a Federal Drug Administration license. These drops are not doctor, ophthalmologist or optometrist approved despite claims that they are on some of their advertising and packaging.

In the UK eye lightening drops were available on Amazon for a while but have been withdrawn. The reviews they gained were mostly one star citing out of date product and ineffectiveness. Although some other websites offering eye colour changing drops look professional, the spelling and grammar of most is poor strongly suggesting small scale foreign manufacturers.

Some of these websites make extravagant claims about the drops effectiveness. However, there has been no research carried out or trials showing what these drops are actually doing or their long term effects. The drops are really expensive at £50 a bottle for a month (non sterile contents cost pennies) so it's a very profitable scam even if the punter only buys one bottle. The recommended dose is 6 months to see a result and they are encouraged to buy all the doses upfront!

Our advice to stay safe

As a general guide, if a website doesn't quote research papers they haven’t got any. The advice from known reputable doctors is ‘just don’t, it’s not safe’.

Contact us for more advice.


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