Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Eyeball Tattooing

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Eyeball tattooing: it’s apparently a new fad among imprisoned criminals to inject dye into the whites of the eyes. It’s interesting to realize that criminals — people who wish to blend in with the crowd so they can continue their lives of crime undetected — would be so eager to permanently distinguish themselves in this way.

DamnCoolPics has more information about this erm, procedure:

Because the we had trouble getting the ink under the surface (and were able to “wash” it out of the small needle incisions), we tried the second procedure, on Josh using a 29ga needle and syringe, thinning down the ink very slightly with an antibiotic eyewash. Since the goal was simply to blanket the white of the eye in color, there wasn’t a need for fine detail. The first injection was shallow and appeared to dissipate on the surface, but the second injection was at the perfect level and formed a dark bubble of ink just over the sclera (in the third picture you can see some of the ink running back out of the injection hole).


  1. #1 Katharine
    January 11, 2010

    The average criminal ain’t that bright.

  2. #2 skeptifem
    January 11, 2010

    Non criminals started the whole thing, and a few other non criminal people I know of have done it successfully. There is an episode of “taboo” where a dude gets his eye tattooed black (just one of em).

    Oh, the things I know from surfing BMEzine. This is not the weirdest thing I have seen. I think its all kinda groovy, for people to change themselves in interesting ways. What is not groovy, however, is how prisoners are denied clean materials to do this (and regular tattoos) with. They are going to do it anyway, and canadian prisons w/tattoo parlors have had success in reducing diseases. I can’t imagine that prisoners have access to professional dyes either.

    The coolest mod on bmezine was when a few of the guys put magnets into their fingertips. They developed a new sense because of it (the casings busted and the magnets had to be removed, but it worked for awhile).

  3. #3 mo
    January 11, 2010

    Well, most criminals do not wish or plan to commit crimes.

  4. #4 Paulino
    January 11, 2010

    eeewww… uurrhghhh… brrr… the mere thought of injecting paint into your eyeball… brrrr….

  5. #5 debbie
    May 29, 2010

    wow…well the day these people die that tattooed the whites of there eyes is the day they opened the gates to hell front row for them….

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