Horrific eye tattoo injury could lead to ban
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A WOMAN in Canada with tattoo injuries so severe she may lose part of her eye, has spurred the Ontario government to consider banning the cosmetic procedure from taking place within the state.
In September 2017, an unqualified tattoo artist - who was also the victim's boyfriend at the time - coloured the whites of Catt Gallinger's left eye with purple ink.
The procedure, known as Scleral tattooing, involves the permanent colouring of the white of the eye by injecting ink with a needle underneath the top layer of the eye onto the sclera.
The procedure is permanent and non-reversible.
Ms Gallinger told Vice shortly after the tattooing in early September that her eye started leaking purple fluid and became swollen, and claims the man who injected the ink said the reaction was normal, but broke up with her shortly after the procedure.
"The artist, my ex-boyfriend, just kept pushing me until I got it done that night," Gallinger told VICE.
"We were only together for a month but I've known him for years. It was something I thought I could trust him with because he had a portfolio. I was wrong."
According to experts, the artist failed to use the correct ink on Ms Gallinger, which may now leave the former model with permanent visual implications.
"He did not dilute the ink with saline, he just put pure ink in my eye," Ms Gallinger said.
"He used a very large needle and went too deep. He did two injections, one on the top and one on the bottom. It took only about ten minutes."
Following the break up, the 24-year-old received further medical advice for her swollen, painful eye - which still hadn't recovered from the procedure.
"That's when I found out how wrong the procedure had gone," she told VICE.
Ms Gallinger's horrific experience has now pushed the Ontario government to push for a ban on cosmetic eye tattoos as part of a proposed patient care bill.
The procedure is made by lancing a small needle into the top layer of the eye and injecting diluted ink. The process and ink formula are both considered cosmetic and are currently unregulated by the state.
In an effort to avoid similar cases, the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (EPSO) proposed banning cosmetic eye modification, including tattooing and jewellery, in a letter to Health Minister Eric Hoskins. They later made a presentation to a government committee.
If passed, the procedure would become illegal unless performed by a regulated health professional.
"We would rather be leaders in legislation promoting eye safety and banning eye tattoos than leaders in how to deal with the complications associated with eye tattoos," Dr. Jordan Cheskes, president of EPSO and the doctor who proposed the motion, told CBC.
Despite the practice of eyeball tattooing being legal in Australia, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists advise against eyeball tattooing as they view it as an extremely dangerous and unnecessary procedure.
According to RANZCO, there are many risks that can stem from the procedure - from mild risks such as a mild irritation of the eye to severe risks such as blindness.
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.
Ms Gallinger said in a recent interview that her vision is still blurry, despite undergoing several corrective procedures.
"The depression has hit very serious, scary moments where I have had to wake people up in the middle of my night because I was scared of what might happen," she said.
Speaking to CBC, Ms Gallinger says she hopes the bill passes in her state.
"Eye tattoos shouldn't be done, it's just not safe," she said.
"I definitely think a bill would have kept me safe, amongst others, long before now.
"Generally these things don't happen until someone has something serious happen."