Corneal Tattooing

Corneal tattooing is the practice of tattooing the cornea of the human eye. Reasons for this practice include the improvement of cosmetic appearance and the improvement of sight. Many different methods and procedures exist today, and there are varying opinions concerning the safety or success of this practice.

History of corneal tattooing

Corneal tattooing has been practiced for almost 2000 years, first mentioned in history by Galen, a 2nd century physician. Methods of corneal tattooing have at times been practiced often and at other times faded into obscurity, but overall the methods have evolved throughout history. Ancient practice Galen of Pergamum, a Roman physician and philosopher, first described corneal tattooing in 150 AD, and the same procedure was later described by Aetius in 450 AD as an attempt to mask the leukomatous opacities of the eye. Both physicians would cauterize the corneal surface with a heated stilet. After the cauterization, they would apply the dye to the eye, using a variety of dyes, such as powdered nutgalls and iron (see iron gall ink) or pulverized pomegranate bark mixed with copper salt. This would then stain the cornea, correcting the cosmetic appearance for the patient. Other sources have mentioned that Galen might have used copper sulphate.This procedure was probably only used on those patients with an unsightly corneal leucoma

Different Types Of Inks Used

  • India ink is most commonly used, providing safe and long lasting effects
  • Other dyes include ingredients such as metallic colours in powder form, various organic dyes, and uveal pigment from animal eyes.

  • Corneal tattooing may reduces a glare within the eye due to iris loss
  • Corneal tattooing by intrastromal injection of India ink into the amniotic membrane space may be a very useful method of achieving a good cosmetic report.
  • Reduces the cosmetic disruption of any corneal opacity.

  • Risk in the procedure
  • People become blind by performing this attempt
  • Sometimes people complain it feels like something is in their eye and slight redness occurs.
  • Complications include "toxic reaction, iridocyclitis, persistent corneal epithelial defects, and corneal ulceration."
  • Corneal tattooing might not always work successfully, and physicians run into problems such as fading, reduction in size, complications, or short-term results.

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