STYLE

Eyeball Tattoos: Here's Everything You Need To Know

Once it’s done, there’s no going back.

08/05/2017 15:26 BST

For those of us that are squeamish about eye drops, the news that tattooing your eyeball has grown in popularity will be met with a silent scream. 

While tattooing various parts of our bodies - from legs and arms to backs - have become the norm within society, eyeball tattoos remain relatively uncommon. 

The practice involves the permanent colouring of the white of the eyeball. So once it’s done, there’s no going back. 

It was Luna Cobra, a US tattoo artist, who first experimented with injecting ink into the eyeball. 

“I studied the eye and spoke with a few doctors and surgeons, and then started to do this almost ten years ago now,” Cobra told The HuffPost UK.

“Since then I have continued to refine the procedure to make it safer. During the past 10 years I have collected a lot of data in relation to ink, reactions, needles and more.”

And it can be carried out in an array of shades - from red and blue to pure black. 

“I would say a good 50% ask for black and the other half could be any
type of colour,” Cobra commented. 

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As much as Cobra has spent years perfecting the practice, he still believes people can put themselves in danger when opting for the inking. 

“It is very dangerous and without medical back-up - and some base medical education - any person offering this would be putting clients at serious risk of vision complications, and blindness,” Cobra said. 

Cobra believes so strongly in the art inking, he thinks the most viable option for all is if the government stepped in to control it. 

“The best way to make eyeball tattooing safe would be for governments to make this legal only for eye surgeons,” Cobra commented. 

And he’s not alone. Henry Leonard, the Association of Optometrists’ Clinical and Regulatory Officer in the UK, knows of the permanent detrimental damage that could happen if the tattoo went wrong. 

“Firstly, as with all tattoos, infection is a real possibility. Unsterilised needles and work surfaces could lead to the prone patient picking up a nasty pathogen,” Leonard told The HuffPost UK. 

“Tattooing the sclera, the white part of the eye, has the potential to permanently damage a person’s eye and could affect their ability to see.

“This non-medical procedure is still relatively new and so we don’t know whether there might be any long-term effects or permanent risk to vision and eye health.”

Before going ahead with the inking, Leonard offered this advice:  

“If you, or anyone you know, are planning on getting an eye tattoo, contact your local optometrist or NHS eye clinic for more information on the potential dangers to your eye health.”

Here are some of the most coveted colours to date: