A lifelong decision

lovingmetattoolifelongdecisionThinking about getting a tattoo… on your eyeball?

Dermatologist, Dr. Andrew Forde of Skin Deep in the Pine Medical Centre in Belleville, St. Michael advises that you consider it long and hard before you make such a life-long decision.

Corneal tattooing was originally, performed for cosmetic repair in disfigured eyes but evidence of the new “fashion” was highlighted on an episode of MSNBC’s Lockup: Raw. On that episode, it was revealed that prisoners in some gangs took the ink of pens and used it to colour their corneas to appear “devil like”.

Now this practise is trending the globe and like everything else it has reached the Caribbean. Jamaican dancehall artist, Alkaline, recently posted photographs of himself getting the procedure done and how it looked after the fact.

Forde, who has been a doctor for two decades, described the new fad as “silly” and potentially very dangerous. He explained that the eyes were sensitive and if the person performing the tattoo was not a trained ophthalmologists the possibility for eye damage or loss were astonishing. Even in the case of patients who underwent the procedure for genuine health reasons, under the care of trained and credible doctors they could experience long-term complications such as: re-opacification or increased opacity and epithelial growth developed in the tattooed eyes after surgery and most required re-operation.

“Getting a tattoo on the face is a bold statement but make sure you know all the implications. There are many implications of getting a tattoo in itself. I think that there is a need for the Ministry of Health to make sure that tattoo artists operate with the highest hygienic standards and also that they use inks that are also of the highest standards. I think we are in a developing country and we should hold ourselves to higher standard.

“I’m not aware of the formal training that a tattoo artist has to undergo… but I do think that at least the machines that are used and the locations where the tattoos are provided should meet certain health standards. I think the public should be able to judge if someone’s surrounding are hygienic and have seen some of the work the person has done because there is a potential danger if any and everybody tries to give a tattoo,” he told LOVING ME.

Some “need-to-knows” one should examine before they got a tattoo, he advised, was one’s profession or future profession, social implications, the size and style of your tattoo and the area it was placed.

The most common complications that he sees annually was eczema reactions and allergic reaction to the red pigment in tattoos. So he warned that the most sensible thing one could do if they did acquire a tattoo, was to get one which was colourless. If the urge to get colour was too immense the best thing to do was get a small part of the skin coloured first to make sure it did not react. But he noted, sometimes these reactions could take a period of time before they show up, so one could never be totally sure. (KC)

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