Diamond contact lenses—would you try them?

Diamond contacts courtesy of Shekhar Eye ResearchDiamond contacts courtesy of Shekhar Eye ResearchWe've heard of colored contact lenses, cat eye contacts, and even Lady Gaga's circle contacts that enlarge your irises, but what about diamond contacts? They may sound like a hoax, but the Today Show blog, Wired, and Gizmodo are reporting on gold-plated, diamond-encrusted lenses from Shekhar Eye Research Center in India. Forget bling on your finger, now you can have eyes that literally light up a room for a whopping $15,000.

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Creator Dr. Chandrashekhar Chawan told Today he got the idea for diamond contact lenses after his wife had the precious stones implanted in her teeth. His new La Ser eye jewelry line features contacts with 18 diamonds adorning a yellow or white gold ring around the lenses. He uses Boston Scleral lenses, which are typically used to treat eye illnesses, to prevent the lenses from touching the cornea. Only 3,996 sets will be made, and Chawan hopes to sell them outside of India. Experts, however, are skeptical about their safety.

Sal Riggio, a licensed optician at Manhattan Grand Optical in New York City had never heard of the diamond contacts until we brought them to his attention, but he dismissed them when he learned they were not FDA approved. "I don't know if they're comfortable and I don't know if they're healthy," Riggio told us. "When they're FDA approved and distributed in this country then we'll learn about them, but it sounds ridiculous and unreasonable to me. Do I see a purpose? No, but today's generation under 30, they do a lot of crazy things to their bodies. Tattoos, piercings-they probably would try it." He laughed when we told him about the $15,000 price tag. "You're going to have to call someone in Beverly Hills, because I don't know anyone here willing to pay that. You won't ever see them in my store."

Today reached out to Dr. Rajesh Khanna, a cornea and refractive surgeon, who also had major misgivings about the glittery contacts, especially using the Boston Scleral lenses on patients who don't need to wear them. "It's a cumbersome, bulky lens, which has to be filled with saline solution and then inserted in the eye," he told them. "The risk-benefit ratio is vastly different than for a person with healthy eyesight."

Mastermind Dr. Chawan remains unfazed by all the criticism. "Look at Lady Gaga and her followers," he told Today. "People take time to digest [new fashion], until some celebrity starts using it." He told Today that once people catch a glimpse in person they will not be able to resist their charm. "If your eyes are sparkling with diamonds, no one can look away; their eyes will be glued to you and your personality."

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