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Monday, July 13, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  WA Government

Tattooing eyeballs to be illegal

UPDATED: Wed., May 8, 2019

OLYMPIA – For Washington residents who want to turn the whites of their eyes a different color, or add an eye-catching design, time is running out. And that’s a good thing, according to eye doctors.

The act of tattooing the white part of the eyeball – technically known as a scleral tattoo – will become illegal in late July in Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Wednesday that bans the practice of adding dye, pigment or scratches to an eyeball. The Legislature passed the bill at the request of ophthalmologists who said the procedure is rare, but dangerous.

“It can cause blindness, swelling, pain … and freaking out the governor,” Inslee said in explaining the reason for the ban.

“It freaked out the committee,” said Rep. Eileen Cody, chairwoman of the Health Committee that held the initial hearing on the bill.

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