Being in a modified environment means it is easy to become complacent with what we have and begin to look towards more and more outrageous or heavier mods. Most people start with tattoos and/or piercings, graduating to less ‘socially acceptable’ areas such as the face, then on to heavier modifications such as ear pointing, scarification or tongue splitting. Recently there has been an increase in the practice of eyeball tattooing, where ink is injected under the surface of the whites of the eyes to permanently alter the colour.
First carried out in 2007, this modification carries with it huge risks and potential complications. The long term effects of this procedure are not yet able to be identified, but problems that have occurred since it’s inception have included headaches, blurred vision, ink migration, glaucoma, as well as damage to the eye tissue and optic nerve. It has also been observed that blindness or deteriorating vision is likely to develop slowly over several decades. Other more aesthetic complications include lumpy eyes and the spreading of ink into the skin around the eyes.
The problem with the growing popularity of this procedure is that many practitioners are diving head first into it whilst the risks are still being discovered. Apart from the above complications experienced by people who already have this mod, there is almost no information readily available about it- it is still a very new process being refined by much trial and error. If being carried out by someone inexperienced, it would be very easy for them to make mistakes such as over injection of ink which would lead to increased risk of damage to the eye.
The problems that this modification can present are not limited to just error or risk medically speaking. The impact this will have on the life of the wearer is great- whilst piercings and tattoos are mainly accepted today, many people will not understand the reasoning behind eye tattoos, and it will make a huge difference to the wearer’s life not only personally, but socially.
This is not something that should be carried out lightly- it is not like other modifications that can be reversed if you no longer like them, the way that stretched lobes can be reconstructed or tattoos can be lasered. Due to the nature of the sclera (the white of the eye) and the proximity to the most delicate part of your vision, once you tattoo your eye there is no way to remove it that would not render you irreversibly blind. Throw into the mix the fact that there is no way of knowing which way the ink will spread, and you have an entirely unpredictable outcome that you can not remove or reverse once done.
Altogether, potentially forfeiting your vision for the sake of modification is not a risk that we would be willing to take. What are your thoughts?