Cat Gallinger, a model who says her favorite color is purple, decided to show her love for the hue by having her eyeball tattooed. The procedure, known as sclera staining, didn’t go as planned, leaving Gallinger in “excruciating” pain and at risk of going completely blind in the affected eye.
As reported by The Washington Post, sclera staining tints the area of the eye that is traditionally white, resulting in a somewhat startling appearance. The procedure has gained in popularity among extreme body modification circles based on its strong visual effect.
When Gallinger had the procedure, something went horribly awry. After the tattoo was complete, she noticed purple ooze was running from her eye to the point it was trickling down her cheek. The following day, her eye had swollen shut and soon became infected.
After three weeks, doctors told her she could go permanently blind in the affected eye, and the internal swelling remained.
Beginning on September 20, Gallinger started posting about her experience on Facebook, warning others about the dangers of the procedure.
“There are multiple people who can attest that my aftercare was good,” wrote Gallinger. “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.”
During updates about her experience, Gallinger accused the tattooist who performed the procedure on her of misstating his training and qualifications, and said she intended to take legal action against him.
“The procedure was done by someone who told me that they were experienced,” said Gallinger in a follow-up video. “It is my fault that I believed him. It is my fault that I gave in when they repetitively asked me to do my eye.”
Gallinger, who already had multiple tattoos and her tongue split, claims that the body modification artist, her then-boyfriend, made numerous errors including failing to mix the ink with saline, using the wrong size needle and penetrating too deep into the eye.
In another update, Gallinger described her physical pain as “excruciating” and expressed hope that she would be able to have the excess ink removed from her eye in a surgical procedure.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is adamantly against the procedure, citing risks like blindness that can occur. They even reference a previous case where a man, aged 24, had to have an eye removed after a scleral tattoo went wrong.