When most people hear they have a special twinkle in their eye, the person paying the compliment is figuratively speaking. Not in the case of people who meet Lucy Luckayanko, the first New Yorker to get a SafeSight jewel implanted in her eye.
“I’m excited about it,” the brave soul told My Fox NY. “I liked the idea from the beginning. I was like ‘Yeah, why not?’”
Lucy had the relatively simple procedure done by Dr. Emil Chynn at Park Avenue Laser Vision. He numbed her eye, made a small incision, divided the pocket between the sclera and inserted the sterile platinum heart.
“It’s a very thin piece of platinum that’s designed for insertion on the top of the eye, it’s not in the eye so there’s no risk of blindness or anything at all,” Dr. Chynn said of the $3,000 procedure. “She could have a little bit of local bleeding. That could go away in a couple days or couple weeks. She could have an infection but we’ll prevent that with antibiotics.”
Although the doctor and patient seemed confident in the procedure, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) warns others to consider the consequences.
“(There is not) sufficient evidence to support the safety or therapeutic value of this procedure,” a representative from AAO told My Fox NY. “Avoid placing in the eye any foreign body or material that is not approved by the FDA.”
In a FAQ page on his website, Dr. Chynn said the procedure is actually a better option than some other cosmetic operations carried out on a daily basis.
“If eye jewelry carried any risk of visual loss, we would not perform it. It would not be worth it for us to do a procedure that had only a cosmetic upside, and a bad functional downside,” Dr. Chynn said. “However, to say that ‘purely cosmetic’ procedures are in some way unethical is ridiculous. Breast implants are usually performed for purely cosmetic reasons, and tens of millions of American women have chosen to get breast implants — even though there are much more significant and serious potential complications, up to and including death.”
When My Fox NY followed up with Lucy a few days after her operation, she said the reviews from her friends have been mixed.
“50 percent of my friends are like ‘what is it? Why do you need it. Oh my god, are you crazy?’” she explained. “You’re going to put something in your eye! But 50 percent of my friends are like ‘oh my god it’s super cool.’”
Right now, Lucy is thrilled with her eye jewel. But, if she ever changes her mind, Dr. Chynn said removing the jewel only takes five minutes — and he even offers to do the procedure for free if the patient opts to do so within a year of the original operation.