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Case Report Highlights Dangers of Eyeball Tattooing

Inadvertent ocular penetration, intraocular pigment injection lead to inflammation, retinal detachment

TUESDAY, Aug. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Eyeball tattooing can lead to ocular penetration, intraocular pigment deposition, and associated complications, and public awareness of the risks must increase, according to a letter to the editor published in the August issue of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology.

Assad Jalil, from the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital in the United Kingdom, and colleagues describe the characteristics and outcomes of a unique case of attempted eyeball tattooing in a 49-year-old Caucasian male with extensive tattoos.

The researchers note that the patient presented with “something going on” in his eye and decreased vision, but denied any history of trauma or attempted eyeball tattooing. The patient had severe inflammation and bluish-green deposits on ocular tissues. During an urgent lensectomy and vitrectomy, bluish crystals were seen floating in the vitreous, with localized retinal detachment; no intraocular foreign body was identified. Silicone oil tamponade was used to reattach the retina. Removal of the blue particles was attempted via a small inferior retinectomy. The inflammation was controlled after surgery, with some residual blue particles on the retinal surface. Opaque and blue particulate material was seen on histologic examination of the intravitreal fluid, and acute inflammatory cells and macrophages containing this material were identified. The patient continued to refuse a history of attempted tattooing of his eye, despite the clinical picture, histology, and elemental analysis.

“It is important that awareness is increased regarding the potentially blinding procedure of eyeball tattooing in people interested in this art,” the authors write.

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