Register Sunday | June 24 | 2018

Pimp My Orifice

What should you do when you’ve acquired so many diamonds you’ve run out of places to keep them? Fortunately, there’s hope.

Twenty years ago, we began using laser technology to correct visual imperfections. Eyeglasses had been around for nearly 900 years, and along comes this nifty little saber, slicing through layers of corneal cells, handing out 20/10 vision like plastic beads at Mardi Gras.

The optically imperfect eagerly chucked eyeglasses in exchange for new, resculpted corneas. Laser technology allowed us to rebuild body parts that didn’t function properly. People were no longer bound to auxiliary lenses, they could depend on their own.

Decades later, our quest for enhancement continues. We can practically nip and tuck our way to X-ray vision, but what else can we do?

The answer, according to Dr. Gerrit Melles, is that we can have our eyes beadazzled.

Dr. Melles, an ophthalmic surgeon with the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery, fastens diamonds inside people’s eyeballs. In 2002, while developing implantable devices for treating glaucoma, Melles discovered a way to safely implant material in the conjunctiva, the eye’s outer membrane (the clear part on top of the white stuff).

The procedure goes a little something like this: Your eyeball is anesthetized with drops. The ophthalmologist (not the “which is better, one or two?” guy) makes a teeny incision in the conjunctiva, using several very sharp things to stab your eyeball, including a pair of eye-scissors and possibly a pen. The bling – a tiny piece of jewelry manufactured as JewelEye – is placed inside the incision. The operation takes about 10 minutes and you’re sent away with a bit of swelling and a tube of antibiotic drops. You don’t even get a pirate patch.

For the next few days you can expect to feel as if you have a very small jewel implanted in your eyeball. When the conjunctiva heals – which only takes about a week – your eye will feel just as it did before the operation, and you will look about a billion times richer. Plus, you can rub that sucker all you want and the thing won’t come out.

The procedure costs around $4,000, which, if you think about it, is a small price to pay for pretty much The Best Conversation Piece of All Time. Better still, diamonds aren’t your only eyeball accessory option. Hippocratech, the company that manufactures JewelEye, also makes hearts, stars, musical notes and four-leaf clovers. If you can’t commit to an eye wingding, Hippoctatech will even customize an ocular implant just for you!

That’s right. Somewhere in Holland there’s a company willing to make a tiny, platinum, ninja-shaped medallion for you to have surgically secured within the transparent outer membrane of your eyeball. The world is truly yours for the taking. Thank you, Internet.

Aside from the whole surgery thing, what’s so crazy about having a diamond fastened to your eyeball? Is paying $4,000 for eye jewelry any more outrageous than paying $30,000 for a set of diamond teeth to wear over your real teeth? Not really.

Dr. Mark Jackson makes dazzling smiles. He makes smiles so dazzling they need to be insured. Along with Dr. Roland Cunning, Dr. Jackson founded Precision Ceramics Dental Laboratories, a magical place in Los Angeles where tooth fantasies become realities. “I’ve been doing the crazy teeth for years and years,” says Jackson, who was featured on an episode of MTV Cribs designing jewel-studded grins for rappers Master P and C Murder. According to Jackson, a single diamond-encrusted front tooth can cost between $5,000 and $6,000, and a back tooth can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $15,000.

Like many in the business of designer smiles, Dr. Jackson witnessed the decline of orthodontic smash-hits like the glow-in-the-dark retainer and neon-banded braces. “These days, a glitter-coated retainer doesn’t quite cut it in the bling department,” he says.

Glitter may have been relegated to the lower echelons of fashion, but flash remains at the core. People like to look flashy, and nothing flashes more deliberately than the diamond. Diamonds are about opulence (and making people jealous, and getting girls to talk to you). A mouth full of diamonds says, “I have so many extra diamonds I must carry them in my mouth.” A mouth full of diamonds does not say, “I want to talk about boring things like the economy.”

Neveryoumind the ruthless, hand-chopping cartels behind their extraction and trade – diamonds make people look good, which is basically the same thing as feeling good, if not better.

In America, there are two types of things we don’t like: average things and ugly things, both of which can be remedied with medically unnecessary surgery or an enormous piece of treasure-art. Bland baby blues got you down? Jam a sapphire in the old conjunctiva, make your eyes into ocular treasure chests. Ugly is a bit harder to repair, but feasible nonetheless. Do you know what an umbilicoplasty is? It’s reconstructive surgery for ugly belly buttons, and so many people request them that the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is monitoring the procedure’s popularity for the first time. Whether you pierce a diamond through your umbilical scar or fork over thousands to have it operated on, the message remains clear: Outies, take heed – you will shame our people no longer!

The ability to perform a complete overhaul on your image is part of what makes America so great. Here, we fancy a little thing called “enhancement.” Breast enhancement, spiritual enhancement, performance enhancement – Self-transformation is the embodiment of the American dream. We relish in knowing that for the right price, we can metamorphose. Besides, who wants to be just regular? Who wouldn’t want to be enhanced?

After years and years of medical progress, aren’t we entitled to indulge in procedures that invigorate egos rather than organs? We have the technology. We can rebuild ourselves better, happier, and you can bet your ass we’re willing to accept the physical risks that accompany self-improvement.

The fact of the matter is that you are getting older and fatter and poorer by the minute and if you don’t start jazzing yourself up, chances are you’ll die wrinkled and alone, rotting away in some crappy village, wasting your life on something boring and gross like building houses or doling out flu shots.

It’s 2009, my friends. We live in a place where a person’s exterior panache is inextricably linked to one’s interior panache. All that glitters may not be gold, but come on, gold went out of style in 2000.