An Instagram model who underwent a controversial procedure to change the color of her eyes says she now has the sight of a 90-year-old after it went wrong.
Nadinne Bruna, 32, lost 80 percent of her vision in her right eye and 50 percent in her left eye after opting for surgery to insert silicone implants to change their color.
The procedure is not approved in the U.S., so Bruna flew to Bogota, Colombia, in the hope of changing her hazel eyes to a light grey color.
The Argentinian model, who lives in Miami, Florida, underwent the procedure along with laser eye surgery in September 2016, but immediately began experiencing serious problems.
Bruna claims her vision was constantly blurry as a result of the pressure placed on her optic nerve by the implant and her eyes were red, painful for months.
She returned to Colombia in March and June 2017 for two further procedures to attempt to repair the damage but was forced to seek medical attention at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami.
Ophthalmologist Dr. Ranya Habash led a team of medics to remove the dangerous implants in September, and Bruna underwent emergency sight-saving surgery to treat glaucoma in November.
As a result, the model has lost 80 percent of vision in her right eye and 50 percent in her left eye, and will have to deal with the consequences of the surgery for the rest of her life.
Plastic surgery-loving Bruna and her twin sister Danna have forged a career on Instagram, where they share images of the cosmetic procedures they have undergone.
The twins regularly have their surgeries compensated and are often paid to feature medical practices on their accounts which have more than 1 million combined followers.
Bruna said she paid a discounted fee of $3,000 to undergo the procedures with Dr. Eugenio Carbera in return for a post on her social media account and a testimonial video.
“Because of my Instagram following, I usually approach surgeons about collaborations and advertising,” Bruna said. "I got in touch with them to see if they would be interested in working together. I decided to get in touch with a Colombian doctor - it’s just three hours from Miami where I live.
“Before this surgery my eyes were completely healthy. They were in really good condition,” she said. “I was so naïve. Ever since this surgery I have had blurry vision. For about a year my eyes were constantly red and itchy. My pupils, they can’t adjust to light anymore so I’m very photosensitive now too.”
Bruna said the surgery completely ruined her life.
“In September I was forced to go to hospital in Miami where the doctors said they had to remove the implants to save my sight because of chronic inflammation,” she said. "In November I had emergency glaucoma surgery in both eyes. My vision damage is permanent, and I still have to have a cornea transplant and I have cataracts too.”
Dr. Ranya Habash, assistant professor of ophthalmology in Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, said procedures like the one Bruna opted for cause “irreparable” damage to the eyes.
“The issue with injecting a silicone plate into the eye is that it clogs the drain of the eye, just like as if a sink was blocked,” Habash said. “The pressure builds and builds inside the eye, causing inflammation and damaging the structures. There’s a reason these procedures are not FDA approved and that’s because we’ve seen the long-term and irreparable damage they can cause.”
“Nadinne’s eye problems are something she will have to deal with for the rest of her life. She’s never going to be done with it,” she said.
Bruna said the surgery impacted her career as she was unable to participate in photo shoots for her Instagram page, because of the appearance of her eyes.
The model said she slipped into a deep depression throughout the past two years but said she was lucky to have the support of her sister.
“My sister became like my mom. She had to do everything for me,” she said. “I make most of my money through my Instagram account and I couldn’t do photoshoots, not while my eyes were red. I’ve been living on my savings. After this surgery I went into a deep depression. I’m a very strong person, usually very brave and very smart, but with this I was completely stupid. I trusted the wrong person.”
“Now I have the vision of a 90-year-old lady right but I’m hoping I can just keep my glaucoma under control,” she said.
Carbera said he could not comment on individual cases but said he was unaware of any reparative surgeries undertaken by Bruna.
“Mrs. Bruna was our patient. However, I do not know any type of treatments that have been carried out on later dates and the results or diagnoses of them,” he said. “I cannot comment and/or disclose information about patients' cases or medical records.”
Bruna has not taken legal action against Carbera's practice as she said she isn’t in the financial position to do so.
The model has taken to Instagram to warn her followers about the risks involved in the procedure, but said her experience won’t stop her going under the knife in the future.
“It’s crazy, because even though I’ve been open about this surgery on Instagram, people are still asking me where they can do it,” she said. “But I don’t think surgeries are bad. I just didn’t know the risks and I made a mistake by not doing my research. Next month I’m going to have a surgery to reduce my boobs because I’ve lost a lot of weight this year and it’s something I have to do.”