Back in September, clickbait news sites shared photos of model Catt Gallinger, a body-modification enthusiast who chose to have her then-boyfriend give her a scleral tattoo. That’s right, she chose to have ink injected into the white part of her eyeball, on purpose. While 40% of Americans aged 26-40 are tattooed, according to the Pew Research Center, most of these people do not have scleral tattoos. It turns out, this is with good reason.
Gallinger’s eye became swollen and painful immediately upon receiving the tattoo, which was to be expected. However, the swelling, infection, pain, and vision loss did not subside, even after repeated trips to doctors. Gallinger was faced with the unfortunate news that her vision would probably never return to normal, and even removing the ink surgically would likely not fix the problem. At present, she is waiting for doctors to tell her whether surgery is an option, and using her position on social media to urge others not to make the same mistakes.
Gallinger is not the first person to have sustained life-altering complications from this risky procedure. Doctors removed a man’s eyeball over the summer after a prolonged infection sustained from contaminated ink. These are only some of the potential complications of a scleral tattoo, so it is highly advisable that you never consider tattooing this part of your anatomy. If you’re still not convinced, pictures of Gallinger’s eyeball are easy to find online, but definitely Not Safe For Work.