Changing her eye colour from brown to blue seemed an exciting option for a young single mother in UK. But in the process she almost went blind. Her eyesight has now been saved, but anxieties remain.
NewColorIris is a diaphragm that covers or dresses the natural iris. It is implanted in few minutes by a patented painless ambulatory surgery under topical anesthesia, says the website of the now fashionable intraocular implant. It changes the color of one's eyes with a natural appearance and without the limitations, risks and annoyances of contact lenses, it is claimed.
Its safeness is based on a revolutionary new design along with the most modern biocompatible materials that are used on current cataract surgeries. Implants are made in the U.S. and material is F.D.A approved, the website adds. But the procedure is not licensed in Europe.
'It was the biggest mistake I have ever made,' said the single mother of three from Perivale, West London.
'To think I could have never been able to see my children again. It was totally reckless of me.'
Miss Farrell is taking a community studies degree at Goldsmiths, University of London in the hope of becoming a social worker.
London opticians had actually advised her not to go ahead with the procedure, but she raided her savings and flew to Central America in June, telling her family she was off on holiday.
'I've already had breast implants abroad in Bulgaria and had been very happy with that, so it didn't faze me that I would have to go to Panama,' she said.
In Panama, the procedure was unpleasant and painful. 'I screamed out at one point. But it was over within ten minutes and I was taken back to my hotel with just some eye drops and told to buy my own painkillers.'
For the next eight days, her vision remained blurred, particularly in her right eye. When she arrived back at Heathrow, she had to be helped through the terminal because her sight was so poor.
Four days later, with no improvement and after developing a painful sensitivity to light, she had to make her way to hospital.
'She could barely make out the top letter on the eye chart,' ophthalmic surgeon Ali Mearza at Charing Cross Hospital said.
'There was no question but to remove the implants which in itself was quite a challenging procedure. I would strongly advise people not to undergo this process.'
They had to repair a hole in her iris and remove the implants. It is unclear whether she will suffer long-term damage - and her eyes are still brown, reports Julie Moult for Daily Mail.
Although Mr Mearza managed to save her sight, Miss Farrell might develop cataracts in later life and is at increased risk of glaucoma.
A spokesman for New Colour Iris said that while it sympathised with Miss Farrell, it had carried out more than 600 operations since 2002 with only a handful of complaints.
'No procedure is perfect,' he said.