November 24, 2017

Is Beauty Really in the Eyes of the Beholder?

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By Jeanne Ongiyo

Beauty has often been defined by different traits…a trim figure, full lips, golden brown glowing skin and even long silky hair. The variations of the exact definition of what beauty really is is fetched from different cultural backgrounds as well as what the society perceives as beautiful. Today, focus has shifted to the eyes where thousands have had numerous medical procedures performed on their eyes in the bid to be worthy of the term beautiful. Though some of these medical procedures aimed at making improvements to the eye to enhance beauty are estimated to cost an arm and a leg if professionally done, it is surprising to see how business oriented humans have been able to make these services affordable to whoever desires them even if it means encountering a near death experience.

Blue or otherwise emerald green eyes have often been associated with princesses, kings and queens in fairy tales. This therefore has indirectly contributed to the fact that those not fortunate to have such colored eyes fight till the very end to acquire what would satisfy them in the long run. Colored contact lenses were introduced into the market to serve this purpose of temporarily changing one’s eye color when ideally the purpose of contact lenses was to correct eye problems by improving sight. In Kenya today, the average price of contact lenses varies from between 200-3000 shillings depending on the market from which they have been purchased and the thing that makes them even more accessible is the fact that one can buy the lenses without a doctor’s prescription…All you have to do is choose the color you fancy and for a small subsidized fee you will be the proud owner of a pair of blue, green, grey or purple eyes.

Despite American based comedian Michael Blackson publicly stating that black-skinned girls with green or otherwise colored contact lenses looked like an Xbox, the trend has continued gaining popularity amid findings by doctors that such unprescribed contact lenses may be a cause of partial blindness or even fatal eye infections if they are not handled hygienically. Swimming in chlorinated water as well as smoking while wearing contact lenses puts the individual at risk of contamination that most likely leads to corneal ulcers that may develop into cancer (in the eye) in more advanced cases.

There are however others who seem not to have had enough of the partial coloring of the eyes using colored contact lenses. They therefore revert to cornea transplants which ideally means having your natural cornea surgically removed then having a colored cornea implanted in its place. The mere fact of imagining how horrid and dangerous the procedure is sends shivers down my spine therefore I will go straight to the side effects of this procedure. If the procedure is not properly done or the patients’ eyes are too shocked to incorporate the new artificial cornea, which is the case when any foreign object is inserted into the eye or moved too close to the cornea, chances are the patient has automatically invited blindness on him or herself. The cornea may be absorbed by the eye and after a few months it may be rejected which may be lead to surgery being performed again to correct an in correctable mistake which would be equated to crying over spilt milk.

Double eyelid surgery is a popular trend that has attracted the masses especially in Asian countries. According to realself an online medical blog post, double eyelid surgery also called as blepharoplasty creates a natural crease in the eyelid that appears when the eyes are open giving the illusion of a double eyelid. Asians find this trait, common to all Africans, beautiful hence they spend as much as 2925 dollars, an equivalent to approximately 263 Kenyan shillings to have this procedure. While there are no major risks included in performing this particular medical procedure, you would still wonder why someone would pay such an outrageous amount of money to create then correct a previously non-existent problem while you would find families going days without food because they do not have a cent to their name to enable them buy food.

Another bizarre trend that is popular with the Asian community especially is the tendency to have their eyes enlarged. I speak for myself and many more individuals who absolutely adore the cute and tiny eyes people of Asian decent have therefore it baffles me how one would want the skin covering their eyes to be stretched apart in the bid to have their eyes enlarged. I do not mean to judge but that is one experience I would dread if I had such lovely eyes.

After all, enlarging my eyes would possibly be exposing my eyes to far much more contamination than I was when my eyes were relatively smaller, hence why risk? Needless to say, the amount of painkillers one would have to guzzle in the course of the healing process would actually be shocking as only the strongest and in high dosages would ease the pain.

While some beauty enthusiasts from the Asian community are struggling to have their eyes enlarged, there is a peculiar group of people who opt for eye size reduction surgery. Just as the name suggests, the procedure is aimed at reducing the size of the eye which according to NHS choices involves slitting the sides of the eyes and sewing them tightly back together binding the excess skin hence making the eyes look smaller. The page goes on listing a number of surgical procedures that one can have to improve their looks categorically explaining what they entail but the part that leaves a keen patient guessing about all these surgeries is the fact that the site contains a warning towards the end of the post that warns them of the possibility of the surgery not being 100% effective….Why risk all that then?

I’m sure no one would love to live with a disfigured body part because of the wrong choices he or she made in relation to cosmetic surgery.

Sure enough, beauty has proved to be an essential part of the society today but I would suggest that it is unnecessary to have such extreme medical procedures performed in the quest to find beauty. Make-up is usually a great alternative to some if not most of these procedures judging from the fact that it is common for one’s appearance to change completely after a number of brush strokes of make-up here and there. Avoiding such aesthetic enhancement medical procedures save the individual from potential risks and harm that may result in the course of or after the surgery and furthermore it helps save money that would otherwise be channeled to a more charitable cause. Beauty comes from within and if one does not feel beautiful in their own natural skin then they for a fact are accusing their Creator of being imperfect.

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