We've definitely all had beauty experiments go wrong (I once got a pageboy haircut for example, and it did me no favors whatsoever), but the photos of Catt Gallinger's eye tattoo prove that sometimes, these things can get downright dangerous. The Canadian model attempted to dye the whites of her eyes purple at a tattoo parlor, but ended up with a botched job that might ultimately leave her blind in her left eye.
The eyeball tattoo Gallinger was after is something called a sclera tattoo, which is considered a very new, and very extreme practice in which the whites of the eyes are injected with colorful ink. This procedure was first successfully attempted and invented by a tattoo artist named Luna Cobra (Howard "Howie" Rollins), who experimented on three people after his friend, Shannon Larratt, witnessed a Dutch eye doctor do something similar to Larratt's then-wife's sclera (aka the whites of your eyes) during an eye implant -- except with “eye jewelry.”
No judgment here, but personally, the very idea of a needle in the eye makes me painfully, painfully squeamish.
That being said, Larratt himself received one of the sclera tattoos. Supposedly, the procedure itself is relatively painless because there are no nerve endings on the eye's surface, and the healing is supposed to include slight swelling, discomfort, and bruising, but that's about it.
Now, Gallinger was hoping to dye her eyeballs purple, and did so with someone who purportedly claimed they had experience with the procedure.
But after she had the ink injected, the healing process took an unfortunate turn. According to Allure, her eye began to painfully swell and bruise, and her tattooed sclera began to drip out the purple ink.
Gallinger wrote in her Facebook post,
...this was done by Eric Brown three weeks ago. As it stands I will have to see a specialist and am at risk of being blind if it doesn't get corrected. This was caused by undiluted ink, over injection, not enough/smaller injections sights. There are multiple people who can attest that my aftercare was good and any other part of what I am saying.
The Canadian model is adamant about publicly sharing the experience as a way to help others who might be interested in a sclera tattoo:
I am NOT sharing this with you to cause trouble, I am sharing this to warn you to research who you get your procedures by as well as how the procedure should be properly done.
As of now, Gallinger is still posting updates on her painful healing process. She shared that she has been to specialists who have armed her with antibiotics and eye drops that are intended to remove the ink from the eye, but her vision continues to be seriously impaired, with extreme light sensitivity to boot.
In another post, Gallinger shared this whole experience has taken a real toll on her mental health.
For now, Gallinger said she's quit her modeling work, but there is hope in her recovery, as one of her most recent posts updates on what's next:
Next week I have an appointment to check how well the meds have worked and take a look at my cornea and the surrounding area again. I will be looking at surgery some time after that (most likely Thursday) to remove the excess ink from my eye. The surgery itself should not damage my vision further. My mental health is holding pretty strong today, so I'm going to keep fighting.
While this is a particularly harrowing, and yes, very unusual experience given the rarity of this experimental tattoo procedure, it's a reminder to always be incredibly careful when it comes to body modifications. Always do your research, and absolutely make sure the person who is doing the work for you has extensive experience and qualification.
Good luck healing, Catt!