In the video above, FullyRaw blogger Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram claims that eating a raw food diet turned her eyes from “a very dark café brown color” to a “hazel color with almost a honey lining around my iris and they’re actually starting to turn blue.”
Posted a little over a year ago, the video has had time to gain traction—1.3 million views at this point—as well as comments, most of which are in disbelief of Carrillo-Bucaram’s claim.
She’s not the only one to make it, though. Steve Factor, “The Pure Energy Chef,” has also experienced changes in eye color, according to a blog called Conscious Nourishment. Rawsomehealthy.com’s Yulia Tarbath says that both the puffiness around her eyes has gone away and her eyes now appear brighter thanks to the raw food diet she’s been on since 2009. That we can believe: clarity is one thing, color is quite another.
The term to know here is iridology, an alternative form of medicine that determines health through eye color. If a patient’s iris exhibits unusual patterns or colors, that might indicate disease, its practitioners believe.
Carrillo-Bucaram, who was hyperglycemic as a child, “grew up eating a very poor Latin American and Lebanese diet—I ate a lot of fat, and was constipated my whole life,” she says in the video. Eating a low-fat raw, vegan diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables with few nuts and seeds, she rid herself of her hyperglycemia by the age of 18. But she also lost pigment in her irises. After consulting an iridologist, she says she learned that when “we have toxicity in our bodies, when we’re constipated and things are not moving through our systems, we become ‘stuffed up’” and we can see that toxicity in our eyes. “The cleaner you become, the cleaner your eyes become. I ate fully raw and I allowed my body to cleanse itself naturally.” Gradually, throughout her eight years of eating raw, she says her eyes have changed color.
No scientific evidence to date can back up this latter claim, though. Carrillo-Bucaram did not respond to emails.
“Food’s not going to affect the pigments in your iris,” said Dr. Deeba Chaudri of Cosmopolitan Eye Care in New York City. “I update my continuing education courses all the time and I have never seen a study that food could affect eye color.”
“We certainly talk about nutrition—that’s very important to eye health,” Chaudri continued. “You want to have a good amount of antioxidants and leafy greens, which nourish the back of eye where receptors are, but neither good nor bad food will affect the pigment of the iris.”
Chaudri added that it would be nice to know more about Carrillo-Bucaram. What kind of supplements or medications does she take? What’s her medical condition? Does she use eye drops? Topical eyelash enhancements such as Latisse? Does she wear UV protection? What is her family health history? “You have to factor in a bunch of things when you talk about eye pigment.”
Dr. Juan Horta-Santini of Union Square Eye Care, also in New York City, agreed, suggesting that anyone who thinks diet has changed his or her eye color should see a specialist to rule out systemic diseases. After speaking with Yahoo Food, he consulted with a cornea specialist in Washington, D.C. and a retina specialist in Pennsylvania, neither of whom had heard of diet changing eye color, either.
“The iris can change if you get a big trauma to the eye,” said Horta-Santini, “but they start looking whitish, not blue or green.”