Updated | Twenty-four year old Catt Gallinger’s fun excursion into body art ended in horror when an eye tattoo left her partially blinded and oozing purple tears. The tattoo was meant to have tinted her sclera, the white part of her eye, but instead went terribly wrong, causing pain and possible permanent impairment. Now the young model is sharing her story in the hopes that others won’t make her same mistake.
In a post shared several thousand times on Facebook, Gallinger, who is from Canada, explained how a recent attempt to tint the whites of her eye purple has nearly cost her vision, The Independent reported. According to Gallinger, the artist did not dilute the ink, injected too much of it into her eye, and did not have enough injection sites on her eyeball. All this caused the eye to swell and the ink to seep out.
Immediately after the procedure, Gallinger knew something was wrong. She was rushed to her local hospital, where she received antibiotic eye drops for a week and a half. The drops did not help the problem and caused the eye to swell completely shut.
Steroid drops caused the injection to form a clump around the cornea area, The Daily Mail reported. Gallinger is unable to see properly out of the injected eye, needs to see a specialist, and is at risk of becoming permanently blind.
The practice of tinting the white of the eye is fairly new and slowly gaining popularity throughout the world. According to Dr. David Flug, an ophthalmologist working in New York, the practice is unsafe and extremely dangerous.
“Basically my feeling is that it’s insane. It can be done, but it has no long-term testing for safety. You have to be nuts to do it,” Flug told Newsweek .
Even Luna Cobra, the man credited with first making the procedure popular a little over 10 years ago, agrees that it is unsafe. In fact, he’s even working to help make it illegal.
“I’ve been trying to ban this. I think it’s super important that this becomes illegal,” Cobra told Newsweek. “To be clear, this is happening all the time, all over the world.”
According to Cobra, he is the first artist to have refined the procedure that completely tattoos the whites of the eye. When he first began doing this procedure he would film it, and he told Newsweek that this led to many copycat artists trying to replicate his work. Unfortunately, these copycats were not as well trained as Cobra and as a result, the procedure often ends badly.
“I didn’t think people would think so lightly of this [tattooing the eye]." said Cobra. “I thought they would take it more serious. It looks like people are not taking it so serious.”
Dr. Stephanie A. Castle, an optometrist at Park City Vision in Utah told Newsweek that, when done wrong, not only do these tattoo pose a risk to patient’s vision, but they can also interfere with a doctor’s ability to help treat them.
“It blacks your eye doctor’s ability to view ocular structures-which provide us with important information about eye health and systemic health,” wrote Castle. “In some cases there’s a danger of patient’s having to have an eye enucleated (removed) because of infection and pain.”
Since the initial procedure, Gallinger has updated her Facebook page with a post stating that her vision has improved in the past few weeks. But she says medical professionals have informed her that she will likely never completely regain complete eyesight in the damaged eye.
According to Metro, Gallinger insists she is not sharing her story to “cause trouble” but rather to warn others who may be contemplating their own eyeball tattoo. “Research who you get your procedures by as well as how the procedure should be properly done,” writes Gallinger.
Or you could just follow Cobra and Flug’s advice and not get the procedure done at all in the first place.
Udated: This article has been updated to include quotes from Luna Cobra and to include comments from Dr. Stephanie A. Castle on further possible damage from sclera tattoos.
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