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Surgeon David Allamby FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth
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Beauty is pain, but is it worth risking your vision?

Learn more about vision correction

29
Sep
2017

A 24 year old Canadian model has recently had an eye tattoo which has left her partially blind.

And that’s not the only scar of scleral tattoo. Catt Gallinger herself has said that she’s made a ‘massive mistake’ as it affects her mental health.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssPBqZidVfc

Have body modifications gone one step too far as people begin risking their sight for body art?

Yes, they have.

One of the newest trends is getting your eyes tattooed; officially called ‘Scleral Tattooing’.  The sclera is essentially the white part of your eye, which takes up more than 80% of the eye’s surface area.  It does the following:

  • Helps maintain the shape of the eyeball
  • Provides a firm attachment for the extraocular muscles that control the movement of the eyes
  • Protects the eye from serious damage, such as a rupture or laceration (a deep cut)

Scleral tattooing is inking this white part of the eye, creating different contrasts with a person’s natural iris colour, producing a variety of effects.  A handful of artists have led this extreme form of artwork, and whilst it remains controversial because of its striking and irreversible nature, it is considered a rising craze in the extreme body modification world.

Is it worth it?

For the Canadian model, her decision to tint her sclera soon turned into a ‘massive mistake’, as purple liquid began to ooze out of her eyeball after the procedure.  After rushing to hospital and being prescribed eye drops that only made things worse, she’s now been left partially blind.

eye tattoo, is it worth risking your vision?

The Huffington Post interviewed body modification artist Russ Fox, who explains some of the short term risks and effects sclera tattooing may have:

  • Injecting too much ink can lead to sensitivity to light, prolonged headaches and staining of surrounding tissue
  • The risks for people with eye conditions or who wear contact lenses are significantly larger
  • Total or partial sight loss (the worst side effect!)

Fox emphasises that whilst scleral tattooing is on the rise, it remains an experimental procedure, which is developing on a trial and error basis.  If you wish to go under the needle, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist to detect any eye conditions you may have and choose somebody with experience to do it.

Sources

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/la-carmina/eyeball-tattoos-extreme-b_b_3031043.html

http://www.allaboutvision.com/resources/sclera.htm

For more posts on laser eye surgery, vision, and eye health, click here.

By: David
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