Grimes’ experimental, SAD-eliminating eye surgery is likely bullshit

According to... science.

July 19, 2019
Grimes’ experimental, SAD-eliminating eye surgery is likely bullshit Photo: Vivien Killilea / Getty Images  

It was easy to assume that Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes, was joking last week when she shared her workout routine with the world in order to promote the new Stella McCartney Fall/Winter '19 collaboration with Adidas. Her "360 approach to fitness," as she put it, involved two to four hours in a deprivation tank to help her "astro-glide," one to two hours sword fighting with her trainer, and a good 20 minutes of just, you know, screaming.

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If there was a tip-off that the whole thing was a joke, it came in the penultimate paragraph of the Instagram post, in which Boucher described an optical procedure she'd recently undergone. "I have also eliminated all blue light from my vision through an experimental surgery," she wrote, "that removes the top film of my eyeball and replaces it with an orange ultra-flex polymer that my friend and I made in the lab this past winter as a means to cure seasonal depression." Sword fighting and screaming into the void and an attempt to "astro-glide" all seem Grimes-esque — at least post-Musk. But experimental eye surgery seemed like a step too far.

Nikole Karlis of Salon has taken Boucher at least partly at her word this morning. "Can we be so sure she was trolling us — or has Grimes gone full tech-bro after dating billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk?" she asks in a piece this morning before interviewing a clutch of eye doctors about the surgery. Shockingly, all of them them think that it is, in a word, bullshit.

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

One cornea researcher at a major university research center, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, explained to Salon it is “highly unlikely to be remotely true.”

[...]

“Let’s say that these individuals want to avoid the bother of putting a contact lens on and off and propose to replace the contact with a surface implanted device,” he said. “There’s decades worth of work trying to come up with a superficially placed contact lens replacement. They’ve all failed, because a material placed in the superficial cornea ultimately starves the underlying cells of nutrients and oxygen leading to corneal haze or scarring and vision loss.”

Let this be both a footnote to what was most likely a pretty funny joke from Grimes, and also one of the most unnecessary instances of speaking "on the condition of anonymity" in the history of journalism.

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Grimes’ experimental, SAD-eliminating eye surgery is likely bullshit