Eyeball Tattoos

When I was young, my favorite uncle had a tattoo on his arm of a girl, who in her era, was probably considered scantily clad. By today’s standards, that very same girl in that very same outfit could probably join a convent. Times have changed. Being an “old navy guy”, the tattoo on his arm was all that remained of his World War 2 glory days; well, that and the heroic stories which he enjoyed embellishing, especially after a few cocktails.  The more he drank, the more bravery he seemed to recall having back then.

Judge me if you’d like. We’re 100% Italian, meaning family get-togethers always involved several drinks, a few tears, and a lot of laughs – with the occassional truth mixed in just for good measure. Besides, he always told my aunt, his wife, that the lady permanently etched on his forearm was indeed her and demonstrated his unending passion for their time together; although, I once heard him tell the lady at the grocery store the same thing, so who knows? Doesn’t matter.

Anyway, tattoos have certainly evolved from a bonding ritual amongst servicemen as in the case of my uncle, to the demonstration of badassery employed by the once feared motorcycle gangs of the 1970’s and 80’s, to the artful display of personal expression that they seem to have become today.  Although certainly not for everybody for a variety of reasons, most tattoos these days are done in a tasteful manner.

Notice I qualified that with most.

And then there’s this.

A new trend, if you want to call it that, are eyeball tattoos.

Get that?

You go to a place. You give them money. They sit you in a chair. They tape your eyelids open. They stick needles in your eyes…repeatedly. You smile and go home.

Sounds fun, right?

Anyone busy Friday night?


The best I can tell, this trend started in Russia as sort of online dating ritual. Two people meet online, they start to like each other, they decide to meet face to face. Presumably, just to hike into the woods and get to know each other by hurling animal poop at passing cars.

That’s a standard first date in Russia. Look it up.

Date number two, assumming our lovers make it past their fecal slinging romance, are these tattoos. You know, because nothing displays eternal devotion like a needle to the cornea. I can’t even imagine date number three. 

By the way, a piece of flying glass sliced my right cornea in 2007 and I have a wicked scar to prove it. The 8 days of a pressure patch, numerous eye drops, a healthy case of uveitis, and being continually dialated as my eyeball healed was about enough for me to stand in front of a firing squad. Horrible doesn’t even begin to describe it.

So, hey, maybe a tiny needle won’t be so bad.


If you’re detecting a bit of sarcasm in my writing, and my goodness I hope you are, it’s simply because I have no where else to go with this. How do you apply rational thought to a situation that seems completely irrational? The sad part is this trend is catching on fast, and that’s no joke.

Now before you call me a prude, let me say that I understand the attraction of tattoos, I really do.  They can be artful, and as in the case of my uncle, they can be a symbol of a fraternal like ritual following a life and death experience. Or even in the case of my dear friend whose baby died of SIDS some years back, they can be tastefully done as a memorial to those who have left us. I’m good with all these ideas.

But tattoos in my eyeballs? Think I’d rather save my money and just poke my own eyeballs with long rusty tetanus infected needles.

Either that or find a firing squad.


Posted on March 21, 2016, in From My Perspective.... Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have a patient that just asked me about this! I’ll send him a link to your post! Thanks for your work!


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