Remember the phrase "cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye"? Why do people say it? For most of us, it's because the idea of getting a needle stuck in our eye is absolutely terrifying. However, for some people who have a lot of courage and a high pain tolerance, it's well worth it in order to get eyeball ink. While it's obviously not for everyone, what trend hasn't been considered shocking or strange at one point or another? There was a time when it was considered freaky for a guy to wear an earring (gasp). So, let's take a peek at the world of eyeball tattoos.
Horror stories. If you Google "eyeball tattoos," most of the top results are news articles about eyeball tattoos gone wrong. Horror stories where a sighted person gets an eyeball tattoo and winds up going blind. Articles that make eyeball tattooing sound incredibly dangerous.
What exactly are the risks involved? It's difficult to determine how risky it is to get an eyeball tattoo. If you search any websites run by ophthalmologists or optometrists, they highly caution you against getting an eyeball tattoo, period. But as far as statistics and raw data, there just isn't enough information available.
Doing your research. As with getting any tattoo, it's always recommended that you do your research first. When it comes to your eyes, you of course want to find a tattoo artist with the proper knowledge, skills, training and experience before you get in the chair.
How does it work? The sclera, or the white part of your eye is what actually gets tattooed. This requires a lot of skill on the artist's part because the sclera and the cornea are continuous.
A person's choice. So, as with any extreme body modification, eyeball tattoos aren't for everyone. Yes, the majority of people probably would never get one. A lot of people find them shocking and unsettling. That said, what a person chooses to do with his or her body is their business, and some people love the alien, futuristic look.
Can it be safely done? Sure, there are many people who have gotten eyeball tattoos with no vision problems afterwards. The trick is finding a masterful artist with a steady hand and a lot of experience.
The proper layer. The tattoo artist has to get the needle into the layer between the sclera and the conjunctiva. That's about one millimeter thick -- so there's no room for error.
The ink is released in patches. With a few pricks of the needle, the ink is released in patches. It's a unique injection method.
Luna Cobra. Luna Cobra is the artist who is credited with pioneering eyeball tattooing. Cobra himself states that eyeball tattooing is not always safe and that there is a high risk of infection and loss of vision.
Ophthalmic surgeons. There have been cases when ophthalmic surgeons have administered corneal tattoos. For example, some people have congenital eye conditions or scarring on the surface of the eye which can be covered with a white tattoo, making the scar or imperfection invisible.
Luna Cobra's position. Even though he's credited with starting the eyeball tattoo trend, Cobra has a firm stance on it. He believes that eyeball tattooing should only be performed by a licensed surgeon.
Stopping the practice. Of course, that would mean that Cobra himself would be banned from doing eyeball tattoos; a price he's willing to pay. Cobra has stated that the art is beautiful and he wants it to continue, but it's too risky and unregulated at the moment, and people are getting hurt.
Experimental. So, eyeball tattooing is largely considered an experimental art. Experimenting with your eyes is inherently risky, but some are willing to accept the risks and go forward with artists they trust.
How do people respond to eyeball tattoos? According to some people with eyeball tattoos, most people react with shock when they see them. Some people, reportedly, have been called the devil thanks to their tinted scleras.
What's your take on the trend? Do you like the look of eyeball tattoos, or is it a little too extreme? And, would you ever consider getting one, or would you want to wait until the process has been perfected?