The Eyes Don’t Have It: Your Guide to Eye Tattooing

eyeball tattoo 1

Image from Rebel Circus

One of the cool things about tattoos is that people are always wanting to take things to the next level. People like to push the envelope and see exactly what their bodies can take when it comes to getting inked.

Sometimes, though, we push the envelope a little too far. For instance, eyeball tattoos (also known as “sclera tattoos”) are back in the headlines. Is this a hot new tattoo trend that you’d be proud to show to the world? Or will you be too blind to see their reactions?

Keep reading to discover our guide to eyeball tattooing!

How Does It Work?

eyeball tattoo 4

Image from The New Daily

Typical tattoos are simple enough: the ink goes under your skin and changes how everything looks. However, eyeball tattoos are a bit different.

Instead of your skin, these tattoos go directly into the whites of your eyes. The intended effect is very striking: people with these tattoos look completely unique!

These tattoos should not be confused with other forms of eyeball tattoos. For example, plenty of people get tattoos around their eyes. But these eyeball tattoos actually go into the eye instead of around it.

A Pretty Big Risk

eyeball tattoo 2

Image from Healthline

As you might imagine, plenty of people warn against eyeball tattooing. At first, it’s tempting to ignore these warnings: after all, haters have warned you against getting tattoos your whole life!

However, even health experts are speaking out against these sclera tattoos. It’s possible for the ink in your eye to cause symptoms such as blurred vision and pain. And that’s basically the least of what could go wrong!

Obviously, we love tattoos and tattoo artists. But getting an eyeball tattoo means letting a person with no medical background stick tattoo needles in your eye. If things go wrong, it may not end with poor vision and headaches: it’s entirely possible for you to lose your eye entirely!

Breaking the Law

eyeball tattoo 3

Image from the Marianas Eye Institute

The risks of these sclera tattoos are so great that lawmakers are starting to take action. And the first places to do so are Canada and Washington State.

Canada has already banned these tattoos entirely on the basis of the risk they pose to the population. Now, Washington State has introduced a bill that would crack down on the practice. This bill, if passed, would allow customers to file complaints against tattoo artist if an eyeball tattoo goes wrong.

In the event of that happening, the state could investigate and even file charges against the tattoo artist. The message from Washington is clear: it’s not worth the time or money for tattoo artists to offer these tattoos!

Our Verdict

Like we said before, we are all for tattoos that push the envelope. It warms our heart, for instance, when people turn a humble arm tattoo into one part of a massive sleeve.

But this procedure is genuinely dangerous. You risk serious pain and inconvenience even if everything goes well. And if things go poorly, you could go blind!

Fortunately, we’re here to keep you safe when you’re getting inked. Wondering how else you can stay safe while getting awesome tats? Come back here every week and check out what Tattooing 101 has to offer!

Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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