Eyeball tattooing can only be performed by a medical practitioner. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists advises against eyeball tattooing.
Eyeball tattooing is permanent colouring of the white of the eye (called the sclera). It is performed by injecting ink with a needle underneath the top layer of the eye onto the sclera, in several locations, from where the ink then slowly spreads to cover the sclera. It is permanent and non-reversible.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) consider eyeball tattooing a high-risk procedure and recommend that it only be performed by a doctor when medically indicated, such as for specific eye abnormalities.
RANZCO advises against eyeball tattooing for cosmetic purposes, as they describe it as “...an extremely dangerous, irreversible procedure that can lead to blindness.”
There are many potential health risks from undergoing eyeball tattooing. They range from mild risks including eye irritation to severe risks such as blindness. The long-term risks are currently unknown.
The current known risks include:
It is important to note that it is unlikely that the techniques that can be used to remove skin tattoos could be used on the eyeball. Removal of the tattoo is therefore probably impossible.
Due to the risks, eyeball tattooing is prohibited under the Public Health Act 2010 unless performed by a medical practitioner or other prescribed persons. A person who unlawfully performs eyeball tattooing is subject to a maximum penalty of $11,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment.