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Eye Tattoos, it’s a Real Thing!

man with neck tattoo

The first thing that I felt when I read the words ‘eye tattoos’ was a shiver down my spine! Getting an eyelash stuck in your eye is bad enough, but having a syringe voluntarily poked into your eye, is just – well we will let you fill in the blank.

Tattoos have surely become a part of mainstream civilizations. People wear their ink proudly. Gone are the days where you must hide your beautiful sleeves of work. Individuality is held to the utmost regard, and as it should be. After all, we are all different. But when ink hits that precious white part of your eye, things can go south real fast.


Who is performing eye tattoos?

Well, its probably obvious that a tattoo artist is performing the eye tattoo! Someone who specializes in body modification by injecting ink into an individual’s skin. Someone who really has no professional understanding about the eye function, anatomy, and risks involved with tattooing an eye. Luna Cobra, who is thought to have pioneered the eye tattoo, has stated that the procedure is ‘experimental’ and no long term effects are yet known. He suggests going to an open-minded ophthalmologist to understand your family eye history, and if the procedure may complicate any eye diseases you may be at risk for developing later in life.

First off, good luck getting an appointment with an ophthalmologist to discuss the above.

Secondly, no studies have been done on the long-term effects of eye tattoos, and therefore one cannot with any confidence say whether the procedure will adversarial effect a disease you MAY or MAY NOT develop. Luna, good try, but your advice is just rubbish!


Where exactly is the ink injected? 

The hope of the tattoo artist is to inject the ink into the sclera layer of the eye. This is the grey outline shown below; however, it is quite easy to accidentally poke a bit deeper into the choroid or retina. Since an artist is relying on his or her naked eye and best guess, I mean anything is possible, right?

It’s worth mentioning here, that the eye is an extremely complex piece of machinery. Probably why we haven’t figured out yet how to transplant it!

Eye Tattoos - Where is the ink injected


What’s the big deal? Eye tattoos look pretty cool! 

They are after all your eyes, and if you think it looks ‘cool’ then you ought to fulfill your coolness factor! But, before you do, you need to know the real risks involved (coming from an optometrist i.e. an eye professional)!  Besides the fact that an eye tattoo is painful, you could suffer permanent irreversible damage to your eye. The biggest risk is straight up blindness. Some other not-so-cool side effects include:

  • allergic reaction to the ink
  • perforation
  • hemorrhage
  • disease if a dirty needle is used
  • sever eye dryness
  • floaters or blurred vision
  • sensitivity to UV light
  • sensitivity to contact lenses
  • infection

Since the long-term effects are unknown, this list is not exhaustive. Should you develop, for example, glaucoma, it may not be effectively treated with say glaucoma drops, because the eye has been altered. Drops may adversarial effect the eye, or just not work. To put it into perspective everyone is at risk of developing this disease, and is especially prevalent among seniors.

Taking this into consideration, and the risk of not being able to properly treat the disease, you must decide whether altering your eye colour is worth it. Better to just pop out and grab some coloured contacts.

I guess we need not say that we STRONGLY disapprove of this type of procedure. The risk of permanent vision loss outweighs any benefits. Protect your eyes, you only have the one pair, forever!


If you have questions about eye tattoos, book an appointment with Dr. Sharma. We love seeing happy eyes!