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Washington state lawmakers looking to ban eyeball tattoos

The authorities should consider a ban on eyeball tattoos in the state of Washington. (Getty)

Lawmakers in Washington state are looking for a ban on the rare practice of eyeball tattoos because of the potential damage that is inflicted to a person’s eyesight.

The tattoos are known as scleral tattoos because they scratch or paint of the white outer coat of the eyeball, but not the cornea. Problems in a few cases are significant, including a Canadian model, who lost her sight during a failed session.

“There is a really high risk of damage to your eyesight and your eye,” Democratic Rep. Steve Tharinge, the account of the sponsor. “The optometrists and ophthalmologists are very concerned about this happens and people take risks, they should not with their eyes.”

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The bill would outright ban on the practice, and provide penalties of up to $10,000 for anyone who is caught in the giving of a scleral tattoo, MyNorthwest.com reported.

“The strict definition of tattooing is the introduction of pigment to the surface of the skin,” said James Hillary, a Seattle-based tattoo artist. “But (scleral tattooing), from what I understand, is an injection of pigments with a hypodermic syringe. So it’s actually using medical devices to inject pigment in the white of the eyeball.”

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Optometrists first legislators of the state on the proposals of the legislation, Tharinge said, according to the Spokesman-Review in Spokane.

Two states – Oklahoma and Indiana – already have a ban on tattoos, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The state House committee in Olympia is scheduled to vote on the bill Friday.

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