Papillary conjunctivitis presenting months after permanent eyebrow tattooing

Michael Gaspari, Behnam Rabiee, Muhamad Festok, Aaila Chaudhry, Codrin E. Iacob, Iftikhar M. Chaudhry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To present a case of tattoo side effects not limited to the tattoo site and rise an alarm regarding using non-FDA-approved products. Observations: A 30-year-old female presented with bilateral ocular pain, dryness, and itching. The ocular exam showed bilateral injection and edema of the superior palpebral and bulbar conjunctiva. Several 1–2 mm dark pigmented lesions and papillae coursing along the upper palpebral conjunctival lid margin and 5 mm above the margin were found in both eyes. The ocular surface was dry with diffuse superficial punctate keratitis. The biopsy report showed granular foreign material in the dermis. SOX-10 and MART-1 immunostaining highlighted melanocyte distribution and the sample was diagnosed as exogenous pigment consistent with tattoo ink by the pathologist. On further investigation following the pathology report, the patient stated that she got bilateral permanent eyebrow tattoos 4 months before presentation in a country other than the United States, and she was not aware about the standards of the ink used, nor the certification of the person performing the tattoo. The patient denied any type of tattoo or manipulation on the eyes or orbit, including sclera or conjunctivae. Conclusions: Importance: The complications of periorbital tattooing are not limited to the point tattoo location and can potentially spread to the nearby segments. It is notable that there is no FDA approved tattoo ink available, even with a certified tattoo artist performing the tattoo, the risks of inflammation, infection, and other side effects are still present.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101750
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Papillary conjunctivitis presenting months after permanent eyebrow tattooing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this