Injury or disease may damage an eye causing a white scar on its surface. This is unpleasant cosmetically. It is possible to disguise the appearance of such a white scar by performing a cornea tattoo. This is not the same as a social tattoo on a person's body. The cornea tattoo consists of a single colour which is placed into the white scar on the eye surface, to make it less noticeable. The procedure is usually highly effective and makes the patient's eye look much better.
It does not improve eyesight. The tattoo is permanent and requires no aftercare other than the application of eye drops for approximately four weeks after the operation. The tattoo may be done under local or general anaesthetic. It is permanent although may fade over several years and need to be repeated.
Q. Which is the abnormal eye?
A. This mans left eye is blind and was scarred, white and unsightly until he underwent a cornea tattoo with brown pigment to match his normal, right eye. The left eye now looks almost normal
The cornea tattoo at higher magnification
An alternative approach is to wear a coloured contact lens. This may be one of the many mass produced contact lenses designed for fun wear or alternatively one may be customised this is a highly specialised product. The contact lens may produce excellent cosmesis. However many patients find these lenses difficult to wear and bothersome as they have to be put in and replaced everyday. The customised lenses are not available in a daily disposable form and so must be cleaned and stored overnight.