Lawmaker: No eyeball tattoos for Hoosiers

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)- Eyeball tattoos. It is a real thing, and the dangers are so concerning to one state lawmaker, he wants to ban the practice outright in Indiana.

Inside Masterwork Tattoo in Downtown Indianapolis, you’ll find hand drawn works of art on the walls, and on people, like Matt Dugan.

Matt Dugan, who was getting a tattoo on his arm said, “Every tattoo I have, has a meaning. There’s a story behind it.”

Those stories and meanings are part of why owner and tattoo artist, Jacob Bryan enjoys his work..

Bryan explained, “You make things that make people’s lives better.”

But there’s a dangerous new trend making the rounds that’s having the opposite effect…eyeball tattooing. Bryan has not seen any in person, but he has heard about it.

Bryan explained, “They’re basically ink injections into the whites of the eyeballs. They aren’t done with the standard tattooing process. So, a tattoo machine isn’t used as far as I know.”

He said he doesn’t know of anyone in Indiana who has had it done. Bryan said, “It’s not a apart of what I would do or be interested in or what we would offer here.”

Republican State Senator John Ruckelshaus , from Indianapolis, wants to keep it from happening in Indiana. The American Academy of Ophthalmology said eyeball tattooing dangers could include decreased vision, blindness or losing an eye.

State Senator John Ruckelshaus, a Republican from Indianapolis said, “The Ophthalmologists are terribly concerned that any time you deal or inject any foreign object or any needle into the eyeball, you run a very serious risk of infection.”

Which is partly why he introduced a proposal that would outlaw the procedure in Indiana, saying he wants to be proactive. Ruckelshaus explained, “It makes it a civil penalty.”

Ruckelshaus said under his bill, a person who tattoos somebody’s eyeballs could face a fine up to $10,000.

Ruckelshaus explained, “It would be up to the Attorney General to police this.”

The idea had people inside Masterwork Tattoo talking.

Bryan explained, “I think that passing a law that would more or less put tattoo artists or body modification specialists at risk for doing their own jobs is a bit on the extreme side. Especially for something that’s not growing in Indiana.”

Matt Dugan said, “I just don’t believe in trying to pass laws that tell people what they can and can’t do. Especially from a tattoo perspective.”

Ruckelshaus said a similar bill passed in Oklahoma. Ruckelshaus is hoping there won’t be an uphill battle in a Senate Committee. He said there might be push-back because there isn’t necessarily a case in Indiana yet.

Bottom line, Ruckelshaus exclaimed, “Don’t do it!”

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