A mother-of-five has admitted she regrets not listening to her seven-year-old daughter’s warning she could go blind if she got her eyeballs tattooed – because she’s now losing her sight.
Law student Anaya Peterson was inspired by ‘blue-eyed dragon’ Amber Luke, an Australian model who got her eyeballs inked blue in 2019 – before going temporarily blind for three weeks.
Anaya, who is 32 and from Belfast, was left hospitalized by the eye alteration and is facing permanent blindness after a suspected reaction to the eyeball ink.
The mum, who also has a tongue split and facial tattoos, now says she wishes she could have done things differently.
The body modification fanatic got her right eyeball tattooed blue in July 2020 and despite dealing with headaches and dry eyes as ‘part of the healing process’, decided to get her left eye dyed purple in December that year.
After months without complications, Anaya was shocked to wake up in August last year with ‘swollen’ eyelids as though her ‘face had been inflated with air’ and looking like she’d done ‘five rounds with Mike Tyson’.
As the swelling continued to get worse and worse, Anaya checked herself into the hospital’s A&E ward, after prescribed antibiotics did nothing to reduce the ‘severe inflammation’.
The tattoo enthusiast had ‘medication given through a drip’ for three days, before having a biopsy performed on her problematic eyeball the following day.
Anaya claims that her daughter India was never on board with the unusual tattoo, as she feared that her mum would ‘go blind’ – which she claims she now faces as her sight deteriorates.
Anaya said: ‘I was just going to get one [eye tattoo] at first because I thought that if I go blind, at least I’ve got the other eye. I should have stuck with that.
‘My daughter told me that I didn’t want to do that [the tattoo] asking, ‘what if you go blind?’ She wasn’t on board with it at all.
‘My [top] eyelid started to swell, and my bottom eyelid started to swell.
‘It kept getting worse and worse. I looked like I’d done ten rounds with Mike Tyson.
‘I took the option to go [to hospital] myself. They gave me surgery and took samples of my eye.
‘They wouldn’t have been able to do it while I was awake, I would have been an absolute nightmare, so they put me to sleep.
‘I just wanted to be at home watching [TV] to be honest. I can’t even put it into words. It wasn’t nice at all whatsoever.
‘It was traumatising to go through. I just remember thinking, I’m not doing that sh*t again, with the eye tattoo. I’m definitely not doing that sh*t again.’
Although Anaya left the hospital surgery ‘on the mend’, the ordeal has left the parent regretting her choice to follow in the footsteps of alternative Aussie Amber Luke.
Anaya has been told by ophthalmologists that she is now at a very high risk of contracting glaucoma, and her eyesight is already worsening, with her vision clouded by ‘hundreds of thousands of floaters’.
The student claims she is being supported by her university and is being provided with applications to make reading easier, as well as counselling.
Anaya is still maintaining a positive mindset, and claims that the negative comments she receives online about her alternative appearance are just par for the course.
Anaya said: ‘I’m kind of recovered – on the outside, it’s recovered. It’s just inside. I’m basically on the verge of going blind.
‘I don’t have 20/20 vision anymore. From a distance I can’t see features on faces.
‘If I didn’t have my eyeballs tattooed, I wouldn’t be having this problem. Even today I woke up with more floaters in my eyes. And that is dangerous.
‘I can’t get these eye tattoos out. I’m always going to have this problem. So, I basically think that as I get older, it’s just best to let me go blind.
‘When I’m 60 or 70, I don’t want to have to go to the eye doctor every two or three days.
‘If I could go back in time, I would have done one black [eye tattoo] and left it. I would have done one black. Absolutely.
‘I tell my daughter not to care about the opinions of someone else because they’re just ordinary people like you.
‘You have positive comments and negative comments, but the negative comments always overshadow the positive ones.’
Influencer Amber Luke has also discussed the negative impact of her blue-dyed eyes on her day to day life, saying in August that she faces discrimination in public and in the workplace as a result of her alternative look.
She said has spent $250,000 on tattoos, piercings and surgery to achieve it, but says people’s comments in public about her aesthetic can often be ‘distressing’.
‘Everyone has their own opinions of what beauty is,’ she said. ‘You see these cultures [where people] stretch their necks, their ears, their lips. But at the end of the day, we all are entitled to our opinion and that’s okay,’ she said.
‘But, what gets to me is when someone expresses their opinion to me in public and comes up to me and says, “Oh, you’re ugly,” or, “You’ve ruined yourself.”‘
She continued: ‘It’s very distressing to know that people have that strong opinion and they can just voice it without any repercussions.’
Luke has urged people to make informed decisions before undertaking the body altering procedure: ‘I would highly recommend and suggest that you do immense research.
‘Make sure you ask the artists botched rate – the procedures that went wrong. I personally would also recommend mentally preparing yourself for seeing a needle go into your eyeball. The anxiety is high as hell.’