Eyeball and tongue tattoos (from Feb Pain Magazine)

(click on the pictures to see how this article appeared in the magazine)

If you or one of your clients is running out of real estate to ink, you might consider tongue or eyeball tattooing.

Tongue tattoos are similar to any other tattoo. The major difference is that great detail is much more difficult to achieve because of the size limitations. It is recommended to choose designs with a thicker outline, like stars, hearts, tribals or coloring the entire tongue. Tongue tattoo also work well as accents to tongue piercings.

The procedure is the same, but the tongue must be held out and still. People who have had tongue tattoos say that they tickle or feel numb rather than hurt. The tattoo should heal in one to three weeks. As with all tattoos there is a risk of infection so proper hygiene practices are necessary.  Not all artists are experienced with tongue tattoos yet and research should be done to find a reputable artist who can do it.

If you’re feeling a bit more daring, you might consider eyeball tattoos, which is actually not a new practice at all. The first procedure was done in 129 AD to cover an imperfect cornea (the colored part of your eye).  Tattooing of the eye is still practiced in medicine to correct cosmetic defects of the eye, but most are done on blind eyes.

Shannon Larrat of BMEzine was one the first to get an eyeball tattoo, turning the whites of his eyes blue. Larrat said that he had a feeling of something stuck in his eye during healing.

Eyeball tattoos have already been banned in Oklahoma because of safety concerns. Oklahoma Senator Cliff Branan said, “It is completely patently disgusting and crazy to do it. As a good public health policy we felt it was important to stop that trend before it goes any farther here in the state of Oklahoma.” Some artists feel it was overkill to ban the tattoos since so few people have the gumption to have it done in the first place.

The risks include cornea puncture, infection, loss of function and blindness. Larrat has said, “It didn’t hurt when I had it done – we used drops, but that was more for the stinging from the ink around the eyelids than any potential needle pain – and there was no pain, stinging or discomfort in the weeks that followed either. And it hasn’t changed my vision or my quality of life at all.”

~ by accordingtoleanne on February 25, 2010.

One Response to “Eyeball and tongue tattoos (from Feb Pain Magazine)”

  1. Good article, but ick and eeewwww!!!!

    I would want to know the long term effects of the eye tattoos…seems dangerous to me, but maybe that is the point.

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