Eyeball Piercing: Potential Risks, Precautions, Pain, And More

Stay aware of the uniqueness and risks related to this out-of-the-box cosmetic procedure.

Written by , MA (English) Shreya Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Aparna Harry MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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Eyeball piercings have emerged as a unique and intriguing trend that literally makes your eye dazzle! However, they also raise eyebrows and valid questions, as the procedure is rather complex. Unlike other body piercings, this type of piercing is exclusively performed by a medical surgeon. It is an extreme form of body art, where a piece of jewelry is implanted into the white portion of your eyes. But how common or accessible is this procedure? How long does it take to heal? Is it safe to implant a foreign object inside your eyes? These are some common questions that might arise at the mention of an eyeball piercing. If it piques your curiosity, then we can tell you all about it. From the procedure to the risks associated with it, you can find all your answers in this comprehensive guide on eyeball piercings. Keep reading.

protip_icon Piercing Guide: Eyeball Piercing
  • Placement: On the thin membrane that covers the white of the eye
  • Best Jewelry: Tiny gemstone implants
  • Cost: Approximately $3000
  • Pain Level: Medium
  • Healing Time: 3 to 4 days

What Is An Eyeball Piercing?

An eyeball piercing, also known as an extraocular implant, is an eyeball embellishment that involves a unique cosmetic procedure. A small piece of jewelry is surgically inserted into the conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane covering the white of the eye. Unlike other eye area piercings, this piercing does not feature a ring or backing anchor and cannot be removed without surgery. The implant resembles a tiny, gem-like decoration, and adds a literal sparkle to the eye’s outer corner.

protip_icon Trivia
Dr. Emil Chynn, a New York City-based eye surgeon, was the first to introduce eyeball piercing services in the United States, in 2013. He operated in a location with a large glass window, allowing pedestrians to observe from the street.

This cosmetic procedure is associated with significant risks. Many opt against it given the relative unpopularity and the associated safety and legal concerns of this eye piercing. Check out the next section to learn more about the same.

Is Eyeball Piercing Legal?

Eyeball piercing is not offered or allowed everywhere due to significant associated risks. In some places, the procedure may be considered illegal. Even where legal, not all eye surgeons are comfortable performing this intricate surgery.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology also issued a cautionary statement in 2013, advising against eyeball piercings and the use of jewelry in the eye. The organization strongly urged individuals to refrain from introducing any foreign body or material into the eye unless it is proven to be medically safe and FDA-approved (1).

For these reasons, not many consider getting or performing this intricate piercing. Keep reading to know what kind of skills are required to be able to perform the eyeball piercing procedure.

Who Can Perform Eyeball Piercings?

An eye surgeon checking before eyeball piercing
Image: Shutterstock

An eyeball piercing can only be done by licensed eye surgeons experienced in working with eyeball jewelry and the appropriate tools needed for implantation. Eyeball piercings were initially performed to alter the eye color of individuals with abnormal iris development or eye injuries. Over the years, they have evolved into a surgical cosmetic procedure.

So, regular body piercing artists cannot perform eyeball piercings as they are not adequately trained for the delicate process. Likewise, not just anyone can go ahead and get an eyeball piercing for themselves. Continue reading to find out about the age restrictions details.

Are There Age Restrictions For Eyeball Piercings?

Representative image for age restriction
Image: Shutterstock

Age restrictions for eyeball piercing vary depending on local rules and the preferences of practitioners. Many places have age limits for extreme body modification procedures, such as eyeball piercings, to ensure individuals are old enough to consent and make informed choices. Additionally, practitioners may set their own age requirements or choose not to perform the procedure on certain age groups.

It is also important to note that at least 38 states in the US have laws preventing minors from getting any piercings without parental permission (2). Specific requirements, such as written consent in New Jersey and Delaware, or a parent’s presence in Pennsylvania, emphasize the need to check with local practitioners to understand specific age restrictions for eyeball piercing.

protip_icon Trivia
Eyeball piercings originated at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery in the early 2000s.

Eyeball piercing procedures are inherently risky. Continue reading to know more about them.

Procedure For Eyeball Piercings

An eye surgeon doing eyeball piercing
Image: Shutterstock

Typically, the complex eyeball piercing procedure involves the following steps:

  1. The surgeon performs some preoperative tests to check your eye health to assess if it is suitable for surgery.
  2. You choose the type of eyeball jewelry and where exactly you want it.
  3. The surgeon prepares you by injecting anesthetics into both your eyes to numb them and lower the possibility of pain. They may also offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or a sedative like Valium for a comfortable process.
  4. They use a special device called a speculum to keep your eyelids open during the procedure.
  5. Using a small blade, the surgeon makes a tiny cut between the white part of your eye (sclera) and the clear layer covering it (conjunctiva) to create a little pocket.
  6. Finally, they place the jewelry inside this new pocket in your eye.

The eyeball piercing process does not involve stitching or any kind of sealing. However, you may expect pain during the procedure. The following section discusses associated pain levels in detail.

Pain Level Of Eyeball Piercings

Different individuals may feel different levels of pain during an eyeball piercing surgery, with some experiencing more discomfort than others. This is normal as individual pain tolerance levels vary. Surgeons use local anesthetics to make the process less painful. But despite this, some individuals might feel a bit of discomfort or irritation in their eyes for a few days following the procedure.

Note that pain levels are subjective and vary from person to person. Talk to a reputable practitioner to understand its potential complications. Moving forward, read on to learn about the healing time of eyeball piercings.

Healing Time For Eyeball Piercings

The healing period for an eyeball piercing usually lasts about three days after the pain-free, five-minute procedure. The jewelry used for eyeball piercings is specially designed and comes in polished, ultra-thin shapes. This jewelry piece slowly conforms to the natural shape of the eyeball by the end of the healing period. This means the individual may not even be aware of the tiny, flat piece of jewelry. Continue scrolling to learn more about ideal jewelry pieces used for this type of piercing.

Types Of Jewelry For Eyeball Piercings

Eyeball piercing jewelry are tiny implants that come in a wide variety of adorable shapes, such as a heart, star, or gemstone. They are extremely small, measuring just a few millimeters in width, and are typically crafted from a platinum alloy that ensures durability and biocompatibility.

You can pick from various jewelry options to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your eyeball piercing. Besides the classic hearts and stars, you may find unique shapes like tiny flowers, moons, or even minimalist geometric designs.

However, keep in mind that the cost of jewelry will impact the overall cost of the eyeball piercing. Scroll down to learn more about it.

How Much Does An Eyeball Piercing Cost?

Eyeball piercings expenses can reach $3,000, making them highly expensive compared to other types of body piercings. This cost includes the specialized nature of the surgery, service charges for the skilled eye surgeon, and the meticulous attention to detail and care required for the implantation of jewelry in such a delicate spot. The expense may also include the use of high-quality materials for the jewelry that ensures both safety and aesthetic appeal.

This higher price point, alongside the risks, maybe a reason why many individuals choose not to undergo eyeball piercing. Additionally, the potential risks may contribute to its exclusivity. Keep reading to know the risks associated with eyeball piercing.

Risks Of Eyeball Piercings

The eyes are sensitive, and it is generally advisable to avoid inserting foreign objects in them. Even dust can make eyes watery and itchy, so permanently placing a platinum alloy inside may not be a recommended idea, owing to several risk factors.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology highlights the potential complications of eyeball piercings in the cautionary warning. It includes (1):

  • Pink eye or conjunctivitis
  • Puncture of the eyeball
  • Bleeding beneath the conjunctiva that turns the eyeballs red
  • Severe bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blindness

Besides, caring for your eyeball piercing is necessary to prevent complications and promote a faster healing process. Keep reading to learn how to take care of eyeball piercing.

Aftercare Tips For An Eyeball Piercing

Aftercare Tips For An Eyeball Piercing
Image: Shutterstock

Proper care for your eyeball piercing is necessary to promote optimal healing and reduce the likelihood of potential issues. The aftercare of the fresh piercing entails:

  • Take the anti-inflammation medicines prescribed by your doctor without fail to alleviate discomfort.
  • Use artificial tears as recommended by your surgeon to soothe the eyes.
  • Avoid using traditional piercing cleaners or solutions directly in the eye.
  • Attend a one-day follow-up exam to ensure a smooth recovery.
  • Schedule one-week and one-month post-op exams with your doctor. Ensure you attend regular check-ups as per the doctor’s recommendations.
  • Do not attempt to touch or remove the piercing on your own.
  • Discuss any necessary adjustments to your vision care routine with your eye doctor.
  • Minimize any strain on your eyes for a few days. Resume usual activities once your eyes feel normal.
  • Keep foreign objects like contact lenses or dust away from your eyes.

These are the general aftercare instructions for eyeball piercing. However, you should also keep a close watch on your healing process and contact your surgeon if you notice anything unusual. Read on to learn when you need to visit a doctor.

When To See An Eye Doctor

After getting an eyeball piercing, it is important to follow up with regular eye check-ups to ensure good eye health. Visit your doctor immediately if you experience discomfort, bleeding, blurry vision, eye discharge, itchiness, exhaustion, fever, severe pain, or redness. Any negligence may cause permanent blindness.

An eye surgeon can remove an irritant eyeball piercing quickly and efficiently. Therefore, pay careful attention to how your fresh eyeball piercing looks and feels, and ensure follow-up appointments with your doctor.

An eyeball piercing involves surgically inserting a small piece of jewelry into the eye’s white portion for a unique cosmetic appeal. It was initially developed to medically change the color of the eyes but has now evolved into a cosmetic trend for enhanced aesthetics and individual self-expression. Only qualified eye surgeons can perform it, as it requires skill, precision, and expertise. Despite its unique appeal, this procedure comes with significant risks, such as bleeding, infection, and conjunctivitis. Moreover, the legality of eyeball piercing varies by location, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology strongly advises against it. Therefore, always consult an eye doctor before going ahead with this procedure and go for regular follow-up exams after getting an eyeball piercing. Taking these measures will help you detect complications early on and promptly treat them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still wear contact lenses or glasses after getting an eyeball piercing?

Yes. In most cases, individuals can continue wearing contact lenses or glasses after getting an eyeball piercing without facing many issues. However, you must wait till it is healed completely before resuming activities that put strain on your eyes. It is best to consult with your eye doctor for personalized advice.

Are there any specific activities or environments to avoid after getting an eyeball piercing?

Yes. Avoid activities that may expose the eye to dirt, pollution, or contaminants, such as swimming in pools, hot tubs, or other contaminated water bodies. Also, steer clear of physical activities that pose a risk of trauma to the eye, such as intense contact sports.

How do eyeball piercings affect everyday activities like reading or using a computer?

Ideally, eyeball piercings should not significantly impact everyday activities like reading or using a computer or phone screen. However, it is possible to experience temporary discomfort or mild irritation from the strain during the healing period.

Can an eyeball piercing be done if I have existing eye conditions or previous eye surgeries?

No. Eyeball piercings are generally not recommended for individuals with existing eye conditions or a history of previous eye surgeries. If you still wish to get an eyeball piercing despite it, consult your eye doctor first.

Can eyeball piercings be removed or changed?

No. Eyeball piercings cannot be removed or changed without the help of a specialized surgeon. Just like its implantation, altering or removing it requires a similar procedure. Ask a qualified eye surgeon how to go about it.

Key Takeaways

  • Eyeball piercing refers to a surgical implant done on the eye’s white portion for a unique aesthetic effect.
  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns against it due to high risks of complications like conjunctivitis, bleeding, and potential blindness.
  • This procedure is exclusively performed by specialized eye surgeons with age restrictions set by practitioners and local laws.
  • This piercing heals quickly, in about three to four days.

Curious about eyeball piercing? It sparks wonder and questions – is it even a real thing? Get all your questions answered with a detailed video that unveils the mysteries behind this unique cosmetic procedure. Check it out below.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Academy Warns Consumers of the Dangers of “Eyeball Jewelry”
    https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/eyeball-jewelry
  2. Body piercing and tattooing of minors
    https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0231.htm
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Shreya Mukherjee

Shreya MukherjeeBeauty & Lifestyle Writer

Shreya is a beauty and lifestyle writer with two years of experience. After graduating from Christ University, Bengaluru, she started as a writer for a non-profit organization, Bhumi, as an intern. She then wrote for a progressive content website. Shreya started out writing for ship-breaking industries and display board industries, but as she began experimenting and indulging with makeup and...read full bio

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