Eyeball tattooing is becoming oddly popular in Australia, despite warnings from doctors.
At least 20 Australians have decided to permanently change the color of their sclera, the white section of the eye, reports News Corp.
Although different eyeball coloring methods have been used throughout history, the modern eyeball tattooing method has been honed by American body modification expert, Luna Cobra, who travels between San Francisco and Melbourne.
The procedure injects ink directly into the eye, which spreads under the the eye's top layer and adds color to the sclera. Like most tattoos, the eye cannot return to its original color.
Luna Cobra has been perfecting this technique for almost 10 years, and has performed approximately 100 eyeball coloring tattoos around the world. Luna Cobra claims the procedure is almost completely painless. According to Closer Online, although Cobra's work has inspired various tattoo artists, he says he has not trained anyone else to do this procedure.
“I think it’s just becoming a trend among people that just want to be super-extreme," Luna Cobra told News Corp. "But the worry is that they are just getting anyone to do it — or doing it themselves — and a lot of people have been hurt, gone blind or lost eyes from this — although I want to stress that hasn’t happened to any of my clients."
Kylie Garth, a recent client of Luna Cobra's, says the procedure was mostly painless. Although Garth commented that her "subtle pale blue" eye tattoo has received only compliments, she admits that her profession and social circle allow her to have such body modifications. Many of Luna Cobra's clients are in creative fields, and Garth warns anyone considering this process to first consider their future employment prospects.
Luke Arundel, senior resident optometrist at Optometry Australia, believes this practice can put people at risk of serious eye complications. As this process is relatively young, nothing is known about the possible long-term effects. Some countries and a few states have banned eyeball tattooing.
Luna Cobra believes that this trend is already at its peak. "It was an absolute shock to find out how many people would do it but it now feels like it’s at maximum level.”