Tattooing an eye - is that possible?

Introduction - tattooing an eye

An eyeball tattoo, also known as an eyeball tattoo, is not, unlike other tattoos on the skin, about piercing a motif, but rather about coloring the entire eyeball. Ink is injected between the conjunctiva and the dermis (sclera) of the eye, causing the ink to spread over the eyeball in an uncontrolled manner.

Another form of eye tattoo is the corneal tattoo, also known as keratography, in which color-fast pigments are injected into the cornea. Keratography is a medical procedure for severe forms of albinism, aniridia, iris coloboma, corneal opacity (keratoconus) and discolored corneal colors (leukoma).

How is the process when tattooing the eyeball?

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

The injections are carried out every few seconds so that the eye is strained as little as possible. The number of injections differs and depends on the distribution of the ink or the desired intensity of the color. The ink is injected into the eye up to 40 times until the entire eyeball is colored. After the eyeball is sufficiently colored, the eye and the surrounding areas are cleaned.

For follow-up treatment, eye drops can be used to protect the eye from drying out and external irritation during the healing process (up to a week). While the eye is healing, there may be increased sensitivity to light and slight swelling at the beginning. However, this should improve significantly within the first few days after the tattoo. Since this procedure entails many risks, only one eyeball is tattooed at a time and you wait around a month before the second eyeball is colored.

Read more about the topic here: The right aftercare for a tattoo

What Are the Risks of Getting an Eyeball Tattoo?

Since the eyeball tattoo is not carried out by medically trained personnel, unclean piercing can have far-reaching consequences. Since the eyeball tattoo is a relatively new trend, there have not yet been any studies on the long-term effects of this type of tattoo. As with other tattoos, there are many risks such as:

  • Allergies

  • Inflammation / infection

  • Coloring of the bags under the eyes

  • Going blind

  • Increase in intraocular pressure

  • Photosensitivity

  • 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 color or an inflammation due to poor hygiene can be much more far-reaching than with a normal tattoo and in the worst case can lead to blindness. Since the injections of the ink into the eye cannot be reversed, the symptoms of allergy are also permanent.

The increase in eye pressure from the tattoo can also be a risk that occurs, in which the color can push in front of the retina and lead to blindness.

If too much paint is used during the eyeball tattoo procedure or if the paint is sprayed into the eye too quickly, the bags under the eyes can become permanently colored. Discoloration of the bags under the eyes is then only possible to a limited extent with a painful laser treatment. If problems arise after tattooing the eye, a doctor should be consulted immediately.

Can you reverse that?

An eyeball tattoo CANNOT be reversed. Unlike tattoos on the skin, which can be partially removed by laser treatment, the eyeball tattoo is permanent.

You can find out more about the topic here: Tattoo Removal - These Are The Best Methods!

Is that painful?

Usually the eyeball tattoo is more painful than regular tattoos. The needle may feel uncomfortable during the injections. It is often described that the ink solution initially causes a stinging sensation in the eye when it is injected. If the pain gets worse during treatment, it should be stopped immediately.

Find out more about the subject in the following article: Where does tattooing cause the most pain?

What can you do about the pain?

Anesthetic (numbing) eye drops may be used to relieve pain during treatment. However, these should be used with extreme caution as the injections in the eye pose a great risk of infection and inflammation. After the treatment, there may be slight swelling, which can be treated by carefully cooling the eyes closed.If the pain and swelling persist even after days, a doctor should be consulted urgently.

Read more about the topic: Pain while tattooing

How long does a tattoo last?

The stinging of the eyeball tattoo only takes a few minutes. Since there are only short breaks between injections, the length of time depends on the number of injections. If white spots form on the eyeball after the tattoo has healed, it can be colored with further injections. From the beginning of the treatment to the follow-up treatment, it usually does not take more than 30 minutes to an hour.

What colors can you use?

The choice of colors for an eyeball tattoo is broad and also depends on the tattoo artist. Since the colors differ in their composition (water, alcohol, oils and glycerine), some colors can have a higher allergy potential. The most popular colors are: purple, pink, blue, turquoise and black.

Recommendations from the editorial team!

You can find much more information on the subject in the following articles:

  • Can I do sports after getting a tattoo?
  • MRI and tattoo - what do you have to consider?
  • Lidocaine spray