Eyeball tattooing is the permanent colouring of the white of the eye. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists advise against eyeball tattooing as they view it as an extremely dangerous and unnecessary procedure.
Eyeball tattooing is a term describing the 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 all of the sclera. This procedure is undertaken by only a few tattoo artists around the world. It is permanent and non-reversible.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO - doctors that specialise in diseases of the eye) 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 view it as an extremely dangerous and unnecessary procedure.
There are many potential health risks from undergoing eyeball tattooing. They range from mild risks such as a mild irritation of the eye to severe risks such as blindness.
The known risks include, but are not limited to:
The long term risks are not yet known. 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 likely impossible.
On 13 September 2017 the Public Health Act was amended to restrict eyeball tattooing to be carried out only by medical practitioners or other qualified persons.