Lamellar intrastromal corneal tattoo for treating iris defects (artificial iris)

Cornea. 1998 Mar;17(2):169-73. doi: 10.1097/00003226-199803000-00009.


Purpose: Defects in the iris are associated with clinically significant optical anomalies, such as glare and peripheral light scatter; however, current artificial-iris technology remains inadequate. The purpose of this study was to explore the practicality of a lamellar intrastromal tattoo technique as a treatment modality to correct optical and cosmetic defects resulting from simulated iris abnormalities in eye-bank eyes.

Methods: Simulated iris defects (abnormally large pupil, sector iridectomy, iridodialysis, and aniridia) were produced in a series of eye-bank eyes. Depending on the simulated iris defect, one or two lamellar channel(s) were created at 50% depth of the cornea via a peripheral incision (1.8 mm) with specialized proprietary instruments (KeraVision, Inc., Fremont, CA, U.S.A.). Commercially available tattoo pigment was inserted through the lamellar channel(s) and blended into the defective region of the iris.

Results: The tattoo treatment was relatively simple to perform. Tattoo pigment was inserted uniformly through the small incision, and adequate color blending to match the recipient iris was achieved. The intrastromal tattoo effectively obscured light.

Conclusion: The lamellar intrastromal tattoo technique appeared to be efficacious for treating different types of iris defects in eye-bank eyes. Further investigation of this technique in nonsighted patient eyes is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Corneal Stroma / surgery*
  • Eye Color
  • Humans
  • Iris Diseases / surgery*
  • Tattooing / methods*