Amid complications from a failed sclera tattoo, a Canadian woman says she is now considering the most drastic option available to her: removing the eye entirely, leaving her partially blind.
Catt Gallinger, 24, received a sclera tattoo from an ex-boyfriend in August, reports TIME. The cringe-inducing procedure has someone, usually a “body modification artist,” inject a mixture of saline and ink into the sclera, the white part of the eyeball. The most common color added to the eye is black. Gallinger requested purple.
The Canadian model is a fan of body modification, a practice and culture which goes beyond tattoos to quasi-surgical procedures like embedding objects under the skin and splitting the tongue to make it appear forked. Having already split her tongue and received more than 20 tattoos, she wasn’t concerned about coloring her eye with a sclera tattoo.
When done correctly, it colors the “white” of an eyeball permanently, like a tattoo. When done wrong, well, you end up in Gallinger’s situation.
And there’s no question it was done wrong. Gallinger, who consented to having a man insert a needle into her eye, admitted her then-boyfriend used the wrong needle, went too deep into her eye and used too much ink at once.
While someone who undergoes the procedure usually has a week of recovery, her eye was swollen for three weeks. Gallinger knew something was very wrong — and that was confirmed once purple ink started leaking from her damaged eye. She’s since gone under the knife to have the swollen eye tissue removed but might still lose sight in that eye, if not the eye itself.
“Currently at a high risk of losing my eye entirely due to the level of damage to my cornea,” she wrote on a GoFundMe page created for her most recent surgery on Nov. 23.
On Nov. 24, Gallinger posted photos of herself with an update, saying, “my hope is gone,” and, “I’m very close to asking for removal. I’m so tired of it all.”
In one of her most recent Facebook posts, Gallinger said, “[N]o-one knows exactly all the risks… I don’t think it’s worth the risk, and I don’t think anyone has the required information on the anatomy of the eye to being doing this.”
She said she hopes to pursue her ex-boyfriend for possible legal action.
“If you insist on [a sclera tattoo] then I recommend you wait until it is made available as a cosmetic procedure by trained surgeons,” she wrote.