Ophthalmologists say Grimes surgery to reduce SAD makes no sense

To commoners, the lengths celebrities will go for “wellness” cures may seem unfathomable. This week, singer-songwriter Grimes, stage name of Claire Elise Boucher, showed the world that $10 acai bowls and juice cleanses are nothing compared to her own wellness routine. .

In an Instagram post on Tuesday, which aimed to promote his collaboration with Nike and Stella McCartney, Grimes shared his “training regimen,” which included spending 2-4 hours in his deprivation tank to “astro-glide,” a few hours of sword fighting, a screaming session, an incline hike, a humidifier while you sleep, a bunch of supplements, honey tea – and an eye surgery she designed with her friend to cure seasonal depression .

“I’ve also eliminated all blue light from my vision with an experimental surgery that removes the top film from my eyeball and replaces it with an orange ultra-flex polymer that my friend and I made in the lab last winter. as a way to cure SAD,” Grimes wrote on Instagram.

Such an extreme measure – surgery to eliminate seasonal depression? Why not move to California? – looks like it could be a catchy lie; BuzzFeed assumes the post is a parody of millennial self-care routines. But can we be so sure she was trolling us – or did Grimes become a tech big brother after dating billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk? For anyone who’s spent time among Silicon Valley’s techno-utopian entrepreneurs — some of whom attempt to hack human mortality — such excessive routine might not be so extraordinary. Likewise, celebrities have been known to indulge in elaborate wellness routines (remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s bee sting therapy?).

But removing part of your eye to cure seasonal depression – sounds like fiction, right?

Seasonal affective disorder is a mood disorder characterized by depression; it is generally linked to the changes of seasons. It begins and ends around the same time each year. According to the American Psychiatry Association, it can be treated in several ways, including light therapy, antidepressants, talk therapy, or a combination of the three. Light therapy, also called phototherapy, involves sitting a few feet away from a special light box that exposes you to bright light within the first hour of being awake. It’s meant to mimic natural outdoor light and can cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood. There’s no recommended treatment that includes removing a film from your eye to cure seasonal depression – but as Grimes said, his surgery was “experimental”.

But is it medically possible?

Salon contacted several eye doctors to determine if this type of surgery is legitimate, physically or medically or both. No eye doctor we spoke with had ever heard of the surgery, and many couldn’t comment because they needed more information to understand if it was medically possible. Others said it wasn’t medically possible or didn’t make physical sense.

“There is no legitimate eye surgery available to eliminate blue light, nor a reason to eliminate all blue light,” Rahul Khurana, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, told Salon. . “The sun is the greatest source of blue light in our environment.”

A cornea researcher at a major academic research center, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Salon it’s “very unlikely to be remotely true.”

“Even if you wanted to accomplish that, why would you ‘remove the top film of the eyeball’ to accomplish that when a contact lens of the appropriate material would do precisely that job?” he said.

Even though it was an experimental surgery, the cornea researcher said it was an “experiment” that would take a long time to accomplish.

“Let’s say these people want to avoid the trouble of putting in and taking out a contact lens and offer to replace the contact with a surface-implanted device,” he said. “There are decades of work trying to find a superficially placed contact lens replacement. They all failed because material placed in the superficial cornea ends up depriving the underlying cells of nutrients and oxygen, resulting in corneal cloudiness or scarring and loss of vision.

“I find it hard to believe that, as described, an ‘experimental surgical procedure’ with hardware ‘that we developed in the lab’ is anything other than a low-cost social media hoax,” he said. he adds.

Shane Tan contributed reporting for this story.