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New 'eye tattoo' trend could actually cause blindness

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

Eyeball tattoos are now trending all over the world

Tattoos and body piercings are the go-to for people looking to express their individuality, but a subset of people is going even further into the realm of body modification with eyeball tattoos.

That's right, people are permanently tattooing their scleras from the natural white to red, blue, green… and everything in between.

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The trend started when a tattoo artist's friend expressed interest in looking like a character from a movie. "There used to be a private body modification convention that happened every few years in Canada," Luna Cobra told the BBC. "That year, an old friend had Photoshopped a picture of his eyes to look blue like in Dune. I told him, 'I think I can do that for real.'"

He then enlisted the help of three friends willing to lend their eyeballs. The process involved poking the color into the conjunctiva under the eye's thin top layer.

More: Woman suffers serious chemical burns after using DIY tattoo removal kit

"I'm aware of how insane that sounds, but I've been doing this type of thing for my whole life so I wasn't coming from nowhere with this," he said.

It takes several injections to cover all of the white — and yes, it's permanent.

"If you want to amuse yourself by decorating your eyeball, why not do it?" Luna told the BBC. "I do a lot of things that look like tie-dye or 'cosmic space'. I think it brings a realm of fantasy into everyday life."

Kylie Garth, one of the few women with the tattoos, said that it was "mentally intense" to go through the inking process. "It feels like somebody is poking at your eye, then it feels like strange pressure and then it feels like you have a bit of sand in your eye, but there's no pain," she said.

A photo posted by Sara Night (@sara_tattoo) on

And, as you probably suspected, it can cause burning and even blindness. Let's just stick with putting colored contacts (prescribed by a physician) in our eyes, shall we?

More: Why white tattoos are a terrible idea

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