The complications of cosmetic iris implantation may result in irreversible vision loss. Patients who obtain these implants against general medical consensus may present to providers when sequelae develop. In symptomatic patients, providers must recognize the imminent risk to vision and mitigate further ocular damage.
This is an observational clinical case report of a patient with significant, progressive, vision-threatening ocular pathology from prior cosmetic iris implantation, despite medical and surgical efforts to preserve vision.
A 35-year-old HIV-positive man with a history of cosmetic iris implants in India 16 months prior was referred to our center. He had a history of 4 months of steroid-refractory uveitis and secondary glaucoma, with IOP measurements of more than 50 mmHg in the outpatient setting. Slit-lamp examination revealed ciliary flush, pannus formation, corneal edema, and keratic precipitates. Optical coherence tomography suggested possible retinal nerve fiber layer loss in the left eye. He was diagnosed with uveitis and glaucoma, and after a short course of IOP-lowering medication, the implants were removed sequentially. Post-operatively, his course was complicated by IOP elevation, cataract development, and corneal decompensation. This led to bilateral Ahmed tube placement, Descemet's stripping endothelial keratoplasty of the right eye, and pending cataract surgery because of now-dense bilateral cataracts.
This case emphasizes the vision-threatening dangers of cosmetic iris implantation. It also demonstrates that sequelae may persist and develop despite implant removal and anticipatory management. Providers managing similar patients should carefully monitor for disease progression and maintain a low threshold for referral and/or decisive surgical intervention.