Conjunctival Tattoo With Inadvertent Globe Penetration and Associated Complications

by Science Editor
Medical Case Report

Mucosal tattooing (tattooing of the wet line) has always been controversial within the Cosmetic Tattoo industry, some proponents have claimed that they are able to perform the service without adverse outcomes but many Cosmetic Tattoo technicians and educators are deeply opposed to the service due to the risks of short term or long term harm to anatomical structures within the eyelid margins mucosa such as meibomian glands which may affect functional lubrication of the eye surface and contribute to conditions such as KeratoConjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) more commonly know as Dry Eye Syndrome.

Conjunctival tattooing (eyeball tattooing) has generally been shunned by the Cosmetic Tattoo industry but some tattooists within the Body Art Tattoo industry (or Conventional Tattooist if you prefer that term) have been offering this service with some notably disastrous outcomes in some cases.

This particular case report also highlights the extreme risks associated conjunctival tattooing of the eye surface and its impact on the health and function of the patients eye.

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Title: Conjunctival Tattoo With Inadvertent Globe Penetration and Associated Complications.
Abstract: Case Report: A 25-year-old woman experienced severe ocular pain and decreased vision in the left eye after conjunctival tattooing for cosmetic purposes on the previous day. Slit-lamp examination revealed black deposits over the conjunctiva, corneal endothelium, anterior chamber angle, iris, and anterior capsular lens due to the tattooing pigment.
Industry Significance Rating: High - Industry alert, report has major implications related to health and safety.

Cornea: May 2017 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p 625-627. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000001163.

Authors: Cruz, Natasha Ferreira Santos da MD; Santos, Kátia Santana MD; Farah, Michelle de Lima MD; Felberg, Sergio MD.
Links:  Article Link Link to Publisher Search Google for Sources & Quotes

The authors describe how this case report of conjunctival tattooing "resulted in severe inflammation, capsular lens opacity, and secondary glaucoma" and express their concern that due to the "increasing popularity of eyeball tattooing, coupled with the procedure being performed by untrained professionals, potentially severe complications of this procedure may become more common".

These are legitimate concerns being raised by eye specialist and their concerns should not be taken lightly.


Advise clients that mucosal and conjunctival tattooing are not recommended as they carry significant risk of serious permanent injury to the eye & vision and the outcome from these types of services can be unpredictable with short term and longer term risks.


body art tattoo, conjunctival tattooing, glaucoma, uveitis, adverse reactions, eye injury

The Education Team here at keeps a close eye on the scientific and medical literature for new publications relating to cosmetic and medical tattooing that may be of interest to our customers. The intent is to alert industry members to important publications within the literature to expand the knowledge base particularly in relation to high impact reports.

NB. does not host this publication on our server we merely provide an overview with links to the publisher, the authors and their publisher hold copyright to the actual article.


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