Tattooing the eye – is that possible?

Introduction – Tattooing the eye

An eyeball tattoo, also known as an eyeball tattoo, is not like other tattoos on the skin, the stinging of a motif, but rather the coloring of the entire eyeball. Ink is injected between the conjunctiva and the dermis (sclera) of the eye, which causes the ink to spread uncontrollably over the eyeball. Another form of eye tattooing is corneal tattooing, also known as keratography, where colour-fast pigments are injected into the cornea. Keratography is a medical procedure for pronounced forms of albinism, aniridia, iris coloboma, corneal opacity (keratoconus) and discoloured corneal colour (leukom).

What is the procedure for tattooing the eyeball?

Before starting the actual injections of the dye, the eye is first carefully cleaned and rinsed with a sterile saline solution. The dye or ink is injected with a small needle or cannula between the conjunctiva and the sclera. After the injections, the ink spreads over the entire eyeball and colours it.

The injections are carried out at intervals of a few seconds so that the eye is exposed to as little stress as possible. The number of injections varies and depends on the distribution of the ink or the desired intensity of the colour. The ink is injected into the eye up to 40 times until the entire eyeball is coloured.

After the eyeball is sufficiently dyed, the eye and surrounding areas are cleaned. Eye drops can be used for follow-up treatment to protect the eye from drying out and from external irritation during the healing process (up to one week). During the healing of the eye, increased light sensitivity and slight swelling may occur at the beginning. However, this should improve significantly within the first days after the tattoo. As this procedure involves many risks, only one eyeball is tattooed at a time and the procedure waits about one month until the second eyeball is coloured.

What are the risks with an eyeball tattoo?

Since the eyeball tattoo is not performed by medically trained personnel, an unclean sting can have far-reaching consequences. Since the eyeball tattoo is a relatively new trend, there are no studies about the long-term effects of this type of tattoo yet. As with other tattoos, there are many risks such as: Allergies Inflammations/infections Dyeing of the lachrymal sacs Blindness Increased intraocular pressure Light sensitivity Foreign body sensation Bleeding Retinal detachment Scarring Since the eye is a very sensitive organ in the human body, the consequences of an allergy to the colour or an inflammation due to lack of hygiene can be much more far-reaching than with a normal tattoo and can lead to blindness in the worst case.

Since the injections of the ink into the eye cannot be reversed, the symptoms of an allergy are also permanent. The increase in eye pressure caused by the tattoo can also be an emerging risk, where the ink can push itself in front of the retina and can lead to blindness. If too much colour is used in the eyeball tattoo procedure or the colour is injected into the eye too quickly, the bags under the eyes can become permanently coloured.

A discoloration of the bags under the eyes is then only possible to a limited extent with a painful laser treatment. If problems occur after tattooing the eye, a doctor should be consulted immediately. – Allergies

  • Inflammations/infections
  • Colouring of the lachrymal sacks
  • Blindness
  • Increase in intraocular pressure
  • Photosensitivity
  • Foreign body sensation Fremdkörpergefu
  • Bleeding
  • Retinal detachment
  • Scarring