A woman shows a botched ink injection in her eyeball. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press

A woman shows a botched ink injection in her eyeball. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press

Law would prohibit eye tattoos in Washington state

Canada has already banned this procedure

By Madeline Coats, WNPA Olympia News Bureau

Lawmakers aim to prohibit scleral tattooing, otherwise known as the practice of scarring or inserting pigment onto the human eye.

House Bill 1856 is co-sponsored by 17 representatives and introduced by Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Port Townsend.

“This is odd, but it’s not a joke,” said Tharinger at a public hearing on Wednesday. “In a moment of irrationality, someone might choose to get their sclera tattooed.”

According to the bill, the sclera is the white outer coating of the eye. The tough, fibrous tissue extends from the cornea to the optic nerve at the back of the eye.

Dr. Aaron Lee, a retina surgeon, testified in support of the bill on behalf of the Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. He is a certified ophthalmologist and cares for patients with retinal detachment and infections.

“Sclera tattooing is the procedure where somebody takes a needle or a knife and injects dye into the white part of the eye,” Lee said.

Someone without proper medical and surgical training or correct instruments could easily allow the needle to go inside the eye and damage the retina, he said. This procedure can cause retinal detachment or infection, which is a life altering blinding event and may result in removing an eye completely.

Violators would be subject to a civil penalty determined by the court, the bill states. Complaints may be filed against individuals who perform scleral tattooing with the state Attorney General to investigate and prosecute the allegations, as referenced in HB 1856.

Canada has already banned this procedure, Lee said.

“As it’s becoming more popular, we’re starting to see reports of the consequences of these things not only in the news media, but also in our medical literature,” he said. “I don’t think we should wait to see somebody go blind.”

More in News

Rep. Schrier urges families to vaccinate their children as schools prepare to open

No child should be left behind when it comes to immunizations. Kim… Continue reading

Kent’s South 212th Street bridge to close Aug. 24-25 for resurfacing

Detours at Frager Road South and 59th Place South

Former Kent pro soccer team owner found guilty of sexual assault in Arizona

Maricopa County Superior Court jury convicts Dion Earl

Local officials break ground on huge Green River levee project in Kent

Lower Russell construction to provide flood protection, salmon habitat at cost of $52 million

A second chance, a brighter outlook

After spending 24 years in prison for a murder, he said, he didn’t commit, Kent man is getting on with his life

Kent City Council approves plastic bag ban

Ordinance goes into effect in March

Most Read