Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Annals of Unnecessary Legislation

July 8th, 2009 · 2 Comments

By any reasonable measure, scleral tattooing—that is, the injection of ink into the eyeball—is far from a widespread fad. As far as we can determine, in fact, a grand total of three people have had their corneas inked for non-medical reasons. They are body-modification enthusiasts whose story made a stir on The Tubes two years ago, primarily as an example of just how far some folks will go to experience the prick of ink-filled needles.

Yet someone at the Oklahoma Academy of Opthalmology evidently thought that all the young’uns today are getting scleral tattoos, and thus pressed the Oklahoma State Senate to outlaw the practice. So as of July 1st, Sooner tattoo artists are no longer allowed to engage in:

…the practice of producing an indelible mark or figure on the human eye by scarring or inserting a pigment on, in, or under the fornix conjunctiva, bulbar conjunctiva, ocular conjunctive, or other ocular surface using needles, scalpels or other related equipment.

We remain curious as to whether a single, verifiable instance of non-medical scleral tattooing has ever taken place in Oklahoma. (Much milder versions of the procedure are sometimes performed by physicians in order to correct cosmetic flaws.) We’re guessing not, and that this is just another chapter in Oklahoma’s decades-long resistance to body art—a resistance that has been a huge boon to tattoo shops just across the border in Texas.

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