Eye Tattooing: A Scary Trend That Can Lead To Vision Loss

Lifestyle & Health

July 18, 2019 14:01 By Fabiosa

Everyone knows that tattoos are a way to express one’s personality, to make a romantic or memorable gesture or even to indicate a way of life. Nowadays, body ink is hardly a surprise. But restless rebels keep going further. More and more people began to tattoo their faces (and we're not talking about permanent makeup here) and even sclera, the white of the eye.

Eye Tattooing: A Scary Trend That Can Lead To Vision LossAfrica Studio / Shutterstock.com

The introduction of pigment under the cornea or the upper layer of the eyeball is a delicate and dangerous procedure. One wrong move and you may face irreversible consequences. Some venture on this in a bid to stand out from the crowd. Others probably don’t accept their own bodies and try to upgrade them. Still others just need radical changes. But do they really have to be associated with such risks?

Eye Tattooing: A Scary Trend That Can Lead To Vision LossAfrica Studio / Shutterstock.com

In 2017, many media houses covered the story of a young model who decided on a similar tattoo. Catt Gallinger quickly realized that something was wrong: she started crying purple tears and could lose her eye. This was probably due to a combination of several factors: her too-thin cornea (which could rupture any time), the master’s negligence, and ink of poor quality. But the fact remains: to save her eyesight, the girl needed surgery and lengthy treatment.

However, such cases are rather rare. A popular blogger shared his experience of living with an eye tattoo for about a year. Fortunately, he felt well, the pigment was still bright, and he had no vision problems.

Eye Tattooing: A Scary Trend That Can Lead To Vision LossViloniousTV / YouTube

It should be mentioned that, for starters, not every tattoo artist can do an eye tattoo: there is only a handful of good specialists in the world. Besides, the effect is permanent, so you won’t be able to go back to normal eye color. A bit of pigment is injected in 3 or 4 places and then it spreads inside evenly.

Eye Tattooing: A Scary Trend That Can Lead To Vision LossViloniousTV / YouTube

The most serious consequences of the procedure are those that can lead to loss of vision:

  • perforation of the eye;

  • damage to the retina;

  • endophthalmitis (infectious disease);

  • autoimmune reaction.

Eye Tattooing: A Scary Trend That Can Lead To Vision LossAfrica Studio / Shutterstock.com

Moreover, this may complicate future diagnosis in the case of diseases in which a change in the color of the whites is a symptom. Let’s also not forget about the risk of transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and C types, heightened photosensitivity, allergic reactions to ink, coloring adjacent areas due to pigment migration, and persistent inflammation. And these are only short-term consequences. Since the procedure is still relatively new, there is no telling what to expect in 10–20 years. There have already been cases in which, after getting this tattoo, people lost their sight (temporarily or permanently) and even lost their eyes altogether.

Eye Tattooing: A Scary Trend That Can Lead To Vision LossAfrica Studio / Shutterstock.com

The notion of beauty is as changeable as fashion. Today, such tattoos may be the hottest trend, but will they be still as popular tomorrow? Each person creates his or her own appearance and decides what to do with his or her body. But we urge you to be especially careful with anything that entails significant health risks.


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.