After eyeball tattoo, model is partially blind, in ‘excruciating’ pain

Purple is Catt Gallinger’s favorite color.

Pictures of the Canadian model often showed her sporting purple hair or purple lipstick, or the purple tinge of her numerous tattoos peeking out from beneath a tank top.

So when the already heavily inked Ottawa resident had the opportunity to “tattoo” her eyeball – a procedure called sclera staining, in which ink is injected into the white part of the eye – she chose the color purple.

Sclera staining can result in a startling tint of the eye, a visual effect that has gained popularity recently among those who practice extreme body modification. But for Gallinger, something went horribly wrong.

The day of the procedure, purple ink oozed out of her eye and trickled down her cheek. The next day, the eye was swollen shut, and eventually became painfully infected. Three weeks later, the internal swelling remained and doctors told her she was at risk of going permanently blind in the affected eye.

Gallinger began posting public Facebook updates about her eye on Sept. 20 to warn others against the procedure. By then, she said, she had visited the hospital several times and had been prescribed a slew of antibiotic and steroidal eye drops to reduce inflammation. Her vision in that eye had blurred and showed no signs of improving, she added.

“There are multiple people who can attest that my aftercare was good and any other part of what I am saying,” Gallinger wrote. “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.”

In later updates and in comments, Gallinger accused the person who had tattooed her eyeball of misstating his qualifications and training and said she planned on taking legal action.

“The procedure was done by someone who told me that they were experienced,” Gallinger said in a subsequent 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 identified the person as her then-boyfriend, a body modification artist, to Time magazine:

“She already has about 25 tattoos on her body, and has undergone another risky procedure to split her tongue to make it appear forked. So Gallinger said getting a sclera tattoo seemed like the next step. . . . But Gallinger hadn’t done enough research and gave in too soon to pressure from her boyfriend, she said.

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