In 2017, we reported on Canadian model Catt Gallinger, the victim of an eye tattoo (also known as a sclera tattoo) gone wrong those viral snapshots of her eye crying purple tears had people feeling shaken. To be clear, this isn't a tattoo in the traditional sense. Instead, an artist, in this case, injects a tiny amount of ink under the conjunctiva (the clear membrane covering the front of the eye) and over the sclera (the whites of the eye).
The procedure was developed about 10 years ago by body-modification expert Luna Cobra and the late Shannon Larratt, who founded BME, the first extensive body modification e-zine. Cobra tells Allure he initially performed it "a few different ways" on Larratt and two other subjects. "One method worked best, so I spent the next two years refining it," says Cobra, who has gone on to safely tattoo hundreds of eyeballs.
Still, just because he dreamed up eyeball tattoos doesn't mean he thinks theyre a good idea (to note, neither Allure nor the American Academy of Opthalmology recommend or endorse sclera tattoos). In fact, he tries to talk clients out of it. "To be honest, every person that contacts me about eyeball tattoos gets the same letter back," he says. "I explain they really should invest in quality contacts and wear those for a long time."
If they insist on the real thing? "I tell them if you think there's even a possibility you might not want this in the future, please don't get it done because you can't reverse it," he says.
After refining and perfecting the process, Cobra's more comfortable performing sclera tattoos now than he was at first. "For the first five years, doing sclera tattoos really bothered me," he recalls. "I was really worried about the clients I'd call them for days to make sure they were okay."
"If you think there's even a possibility you might not want this in the future, please don't get it done because you can't reverse it."
That's because the medical risks are pretty scary: Once another substance is injected into the layers of the eye, it can cause chronic inflammation of the wall of the eye, says Kendall E. Donaldson, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
That not's the worst of it, as New York City-based ophthalmologist Ilyse Haberman adds. "If the ink is not injected into the right place,the needlecan perforate the eye and the ink can be injected into the eyeball itself," she explains. "This can lead to a retinal detachment, infection, and permanent damage to the cells inside the eye that allow you to see." According to her, someone could even lose their sight or their entire eye permanently if the job isn't done with the utmost care.
According to Gallingers viral Facebook post, her ordeal was caused by an untrained artist not using enough injection sites and overfilling the ones he created with undiluted ink. The following Facebook update reported that she experienced pain, and suffering blurred and double vision for quite some time.
"Think twice" might be the understatement of the year when it comes to sticking a needle in your eye, but even perfectly-executed sclera tattoos can affect people in unpredictable ways. "Because the ink is slightly raised, you may have a permanent foreign body sensation," Haberman points out, meaning that the feeling of having a little piece of dust in your eye could be yours forever. And then there's the simple fact that sclera tattoos might scare the absolute hell out of some people.
"If the ink is not injected into the right place... it can lead to a retinal detachment, infection, and permanent damage to the cells inside the eye that allow you to see."
Consider this warning from Luna Cobra regarding black sclera, one of the more popular requests he gets (see Italian model Cristian Ombra and Polish rapper/ MMA fighter Popek): "When someone wants a black eyeball and they have dark brown irises, I warn them theyre going to scare the crap out of everybody forever," he says. You can't tell where they're looking, and its off-putting. It's a little bit harder to interact with somebody like that."
If all of that still isn't enough to convince you of this procedure's risks, considering that this procedure is still relatively new there aren't any folks yet who have decades-old eye tattoos for us to observe their longevity. And, as Haberman explains, there's no substantial research to determine the procedure's safety and results. "This procedure has not been scientifically studied or approved and would never be performed by a medical doctor," she says. In fact, legislation has been introduced (and passed) in several states to ban this type of body modification altogether.
Gallinger is finished with eyeball tattoos, even if they were to come from Luna Cobra himself. A reader once asked her if she'd consider letting the originator do her other eye. Her answer was a firm no. "Although he is very reputable and I highly respect him, I won't be allowing anyone near it."
More on body modification:
The Complete Guide to Glow in the Dark Tattoos
Experts Weigh in on This Video of Someone Getting 3 Ear Piercings at Once
A Man Had Part of His Ear Cut Out in a Controversial Conch Removal Procedure
Now, see what it's like to get tattooed for the first time:
Don't forget to follow Allure on Instagram and Twitter.
Originally Appeared on Allure
Read the original:
- 5 Best Tattoo Artists in Houston - Kev's Best - February 19th, 2021
- Ink Evolution - Flathead Beacon - February 19th, 2021
- It doesnt get easier with time: Smiths continue to move forward while honoring loved ones - Fox17 - February 19th, 2021
- Arteta refuses to confirm whether Aubameyang broke rules by getting tattoo - BT Sport - February 19th, 2021
- Irish tattoo artist recalls the day Britney Spears came to Bray - Newstalk - February 19th, 2021
- Did you know entrepreneur Naman Arora is a top-notch tattoo artist? Read to know more about the creative genius! - News Track English - February 19th, 2021
- 3 Men Shared the Stories Behind the Epic Tattoos They Got to Cover Their Scars - menshealth.com - February 19th, 2021
- Want to get a finger tattoo? Here's what to keep in mind before taking the plunge - VOGUE India - February 17th, 2021
- Arsenal investigate Aubameyang over reported COVID-19 tattoo breach - ESPN - February 17th, 2021
- Tributes paid in memory of talented Blood Rush tattoo artist - Leighton Buzzard Observer - February 17th, 2021
- Artist and Influencer Mikey B Made It is legally trappin art from the hood to Hollywood - Press Release - Digital Journal - February 17th, 2021
- Charlie Cartwright: The Godfather of Black-and-Grey Fine Line Tattooing - Scene 360 - February 17th, 2021
- Exploring the process of becoming a tattoo artist - Argonaut - February 14th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Share the Tattoo Ideas So Bad They Actually Refused to Do Them - menshealth.com - February 14th, 2021
- Tattoo artists reveal the one inking theyve been asked to do but had to refuse - Daily Star - February 11th, 2021
- Show what you love: Manchester resident Lizzie Wright in the running to be Inked magazines next cover girl - Baltimore Sun - February 11th, 2021
- Tattoo artists reveal the one tattoo they have had to refuse to do - Buzz.ie - February 11th, 2021
- These Tattoo Artists Shared the Worst Mistakes Theyve Ever Made - menshealth.com - February 11th, 2021
- Feel the Bern: Warm up with the top 10 Bernie Sanders memes The Rocky Mountain Collegian - Rocky Mountain Collegian - February 11th, 2021
- Tattoo artists reveal their worst mistakes ever and how the clients reacted - Daily Star - February 11th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They Love Doing the Most - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 10th, 2021
- Halsey Doesn't Want To Go 'Overboard' On Pregnancy Cravings - OK! - February 10th, 2021
- Becky G Just Got 2 New Tattoos in One Day, and I Thought I Had a High Pain Threshold - POPSUGAR - February 10th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Best Tattoos They'll Never Get Tired of Doing - menshealth.com - February 10th, 2021
- Nine things tattoo artists hate clients doing when they get inked - Daily Star - February 10th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They're Most Sick of Seeing - menshealth.com - February 7th, 2021
- Student, 23, who cant tell her left from right gets L and R TATTOOED on her hands as a permanent reminder - The Irish Sun - February 7th, 2021
- 'Basic' tattoos artists secretly hate doing - and the ones they'll refuse to give - Cambridgeshire Live - February 6th, 2021
- With Pastel Devil Studio, these artists are reimagining today's tattoo parlor - St. Louis Magazine - February 6th, 2021
- Marijuana law reform in Japan contingent on the message - The Japan Times - February 6th, 2021
- Bricks placed in Southern Indiana remember those who have died from drug overdose - WHAS11.com - February 6th, 2021
- Vans Tapped 4 Artists to Design Shoes For Black History Month, and We Talked to Them All - POPSUGAR - February 6th, 2021
- 20 Interesting Facts About the South Korean Boy Band BTS - Music in Minnesota - Music in Minnesota - February 6th, 2021
- 10 Celebs Who Have Face Tattoos | TheThings - TheThings - February 6th, 2021
- Walter Suza: A city along the Mississippi seeks to defeat hate - Ames Tribune - February 6th, 2021
- If Norman Rockwell were alive today: North Jersey photo exhibit updates iconic artists works - NJ.com - February 4th, 2021
- Jhene Aiko & 9 Other Celebs Who Got Huge Portraits Of Their Partners Tattooed On Them - TheThings - February 4th, 2021
- Columbus rappers and engineers embrace work from home with new DIY spaces - Columbus Alive - February 4th, 2021
- Chris Evans Has Way More Tattoos Than You Think - menshealth.com - February 4th, 2021
- The sweet side of a sour pandemic - IU Southeast Horizon - February 4th, 2021
- Student, 23, who cant tell her left from right gets L and R TATTOOED on her hands as a permanent reminder - The Sun - February 4th, 2021
- No one said folding clothes was easy, but this folding board makes it quick - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 4th, 2021
- Bedford Has a Year-Round All-Horror Shop - Dallas Observer - February 4th, 2021
- 'Basic' tattoos artists secretly hate doing - and the ones they'll refuse to do - Mirror Online - February 4th, 2021
- One Arm Willie makes his mark on the local tattoo industry - Mountain Xpress - February 4th, 2021
- How to plan your tattoo - Nation Online - nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper - February 4th, 2021
- The most basic tattoos artists secretly hate as they reveal the one inking they will NEVER do - The Sun - February 2nd, 2021
- Six tattoos artists secretly hate doing and the one inking they refuse to do - Daily Star - February 2nd, 2021
- 90 Day Fianc Recap: They Really Titled This Episode The No Bang Theory - Vulture - February 2nd, 2021
- Brett Young Honors His Children By Getting Tattoos Of Their Heartbeats By Bubba Irwin - Music Mayhem Magazine - February 2nd, 2021
- Rye grads put a spotlight on Toronto's diverse artists with How T.O. Art - The Eyeopener - February 2nd, 2021
- Cara Delevingne & Other Models Who Made It In The Industry With Visible Tattoos - TheThings - February 2nd, 2021
- Heres What Halseys Mysterious Matching Seeds Tattoo With Her Boyfriend Alev Means - Cosmopolitan - February 2nd, 2021
- Denver tattoo artist goes viral for her take on the wildly popular Bernie Sanders meme - The Denver Channel - January 31st, 2021
- For the love of Ink - Daily Pioneer - January 31st, 2021
- Michigan family mourns death of son they say was pushed to the breaking point by stop in high school sports - MLive.com - January 31st, 2021
- Style 'The Bernie Meme' Is Forever Immortalized on a Denver Man's Body - ourcommunitynow.com - January 31st, 2021
- Halsey and Alev Aydin Have Matching Tattoos and the Meaning Behind Them Will Make You Melt - Seventeen.com - January 31st, 2021
- Someone in Toronto started an Instagram account sharing the stories behind people's tattoos - blogTO - January 31st, 2021
- For artist Tim Eakin, each tattoo has 'got to be the best thing ever' - Canton Repository - January 30th, 2021
- Pattaya tattoo artists have only red ink - Pattaya Mail - January 30th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Talked About Their Mistakes and Now We'll Think Twice Before Getting a Tattoo - nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper - January 30th, 2021
- Arrow Brings The El Duce Tapes & Shogun's Joy Of Torture In February - Inside Pulse - January 30th, 2021
- Kim Jones, roller derby and haute couture debuts: whats in fashion? - i-D - January 30th, 2021
- Can You Wear Floral on Your Buzz Cut? - The New York Times - January 27th, 2021
- #Balancetontatoueur: one of the accused tattooists files a complaint against the Instagram account which wanted to break the omerta - Inspired... - January 27th, 2021
- Is The King of Staten Island based on a true story? Which parts have been fictionalised? - Republic World - January 27th, 2021
- Integrity Ink Provides Fast, Effective, and Affordable Full-Spectrum Laser Tattoo Removal in Crosby, TX with the Astanza Trinity Laser - GlobeNewswire - January 27th, 2021
- New Year New Me LifeChanging Scalp Micropigmentation For Men and Women - Pro News Report - January 27th, 2021
- Missing and Murdered in the Midwest Crime Chat: Hello 2021 & Bloody Good Book Club - WQAD.com - January 25th, 2021
- Ireland Baldwin Tugs Down Her Pants To Show Off Her Lace Panties, Butt, And Tattoo - The Inquisitr - January 25th, 2021
- Socceroo Jackson Irvine explains his viral Simpsons tattoo that won over a writer from the show - Sporting News AU - January 24th, 2021
- From Grassroots To Grand Circuit Glory - Standardbred Canada - January 24th, 2021
- Face tattoos give Indigenous woman a chance to reclaim traditional form of self-expression - CBC.ca - January 24th, 2021
- Tattoo artist Les Bowen reflects on 61 years inking bodies and change from underground to art form - ABC News - January 22nd, 2021
- Sherbrooke-based tattoo artists ready to get back to the studio - Sherbrooke Record - January 22nd, 2021
- Denver Tattoo Shop Owner Finally Gets Some Attention From the City - Westword - January 22nd, 2021
- Travis Ross makes another visit to Accelerated Charter High School - YourCentralValley.com - January 22nd, 2021
- Remington Tattoo Parlor and Gallery Claims To Be The Best Option For Those Searching Online For "Female Tattoo Artists Near Me" In San Diego... - January 20th, 2021
- Getting inked is becoming more acceptable - The Signal - The Signal - January 20th, 2021