Different Types of Eye Piercings

Eyebrow, Eyelid, and Eyeball Piercings

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Piercings around the eyes are riskier than other sites because of the area's sensitivity. Some eye area piercings are more dangerous than others, and complications can extend to the eye itself and possibly affect vision.

Getting a piercing can be a way to adorn your body nonpermanently. As long as you visit a safe, reputable piercing studio, most body piercings shouldn’t produce ill-effects. With proper aftercare, most types of piercings elsewhere on the body will heal and not cause long-term damage or scarring.

However, some piercings around the eye come with additional risks. Learn more about the different types and what complications might occur.

Types of Eye Piercing

Several different types of piercings involve the eye area. These include:

  • Vertical or horizontal eyebrow piercing
  • Bridge piercing
  • Anti-eyebrow piercing
  • Eyelid piercing
  • Third-eye piercing
  • Eyeball piercing

Body piercing is relatively common in the United States, but there isn’t any available data on how many people have specific types of piercings. 

General Piercing Complications

Below, we’ll go into possible complications of specific piercings, but some general complications for all types of piercings include:

Eyebrow

The eyebrow area is a common site for piercing.

How the Eyebrow Is Pierced

To pierce your eyebrow, a piercer will insert a needle through the skin. The direction and placement of the needle will depend on the chosen location of the piercing. 

Proper Care for Eyebrow Piercing 

Eyebrow piercings take about six to eight weeks to heal. Aftercare involves preventing infection and encouraging speedy healing. Make sure to:

  • Keep your hands clean and avoid unnecessarily touching the fresh piercing.
  • Wash your piercing daily. Your piercer should provide a care guide with washing instructions. Cleaning too much can irritate the area.
  • Only use gentle cleansers and products around your piercing area.
  • Keep the piercing dry, but be careful when drying it off because the jewelry may snag on towels and cloths. 
  • Keep the area open. Don’t cover the site or use antibacterial gels or creams. Your piercing needs to breathe.
  • Avoid using hydrogen peroxide or other irritating products.

These aftercare instructions apply to most dermal piercings. If you’re ever in doubt, ask your piercing professional. 

Possible Complications

An eyebrow piercing is probably the least risky of all eye-area piercings because it’s far enough away from the eye that it shouldn’t impact eye health directly. However, some complications are still possible.

In some cases, an infected eyebrow piercing may still affect the eye. In one case from 2002, a woman experienced swelling extending to the eyelid and cheek after getting her eyebrow pierced.

When Not To Get a Piercing

Some people are at a higher risk for infection and complications from piercings. You should avoid getting a piercing if you:

  • Have a condition that may slow healing, like diabetes, a bleeding disorder, or heart disease
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a skin irritation or an open wound 
  • Have a lot of moles and freckles in your preferred piercing spot

Eyelid 

Eyelid piercings are not common and they come with several risks in addition to the typical piercing risks.

How the Eyelid Is Pierced

An eyelid piercing involves piercing the eyelid and adorning the area with jewelry called a captive bead ring. A piercer may use a clamp for easier access to the eyelid. 

Proper Care for Eyelid Piercing

There isn’t much aftercare information out there about proper care because this piercing is so uncommon. Your piercer will provide you with instructions on how to care for your eyelid piercing.

The usual sanitary guidelines apply. You should also rinse the area with a saline solution—since regular soap would irritate your eye.

Possible Complications

Because of the proximity to the eye, there are many possible complications with this type of piercing. The jewelry might irritate or scratch the eyeball. Eye damage can also occur during the piercing process. There’s also a high risk of infection, which can lead to abscess formation.

It's easy to snag certain types of piercings on clothing or towels. Eyelid piercings are no exception. Tearing the skin on the ear is painful, but lacerating an eyelid may be excruciating.

Safe Piercing Jewelry

The Association of Professional Piercers recommends the following materials for piercings:

  • Surgical steel: ASTM F-138 or ISO 10993-(6,10, or 11) compliant
  • Implant certified titanium: ASTM F-136, ASTM F-87, or ISO 5832-3 compliant 
  • Niobium
  • Nickel-free gold that's 14K or higher and alloyed for biocompatibility
  • Platinum
  • Biocompatible polymers 
  • Glass

Proper sizing of jewelry is also important. Jewelry that's too large may cause pain if there's swelling during the healing process, for example.

Eyeball

Your local piercing studio probably won’t agree to pierce your eyeball. But that doesn't mean this sci-fi-sounding piercing isn’t real. 

How the Eyeball Is Pierced

Invented in Europe, this type of “piercing” involves implanting eyeball jewelry within the visible part of the eye. The American Academy of Ophthalmology does not endorse this type of piercing and warns people to avoid it because of the safety risks.

Possible Complications

It probably comes as no surprise that getting jewelry implanted into your eyeball comes with a host of potential complications. Some risks include:

Other Eye-Related Piercings

If someone can get an eyeball piercing, the sky is the limit. Most other eye-related piercings aren't as extreme, though. Some other eye area piercings include:

  • Dermal piercings are piercings on the surface of the skin. You can get a dermal piercing pretty much anywhere—your cheek, forehead, beside your eye, etc.
  • Third-eye piercing is done in a position that is right between the eyebrows. It usually involves vertical jewelry placement. 

A Word From Verywell

Getting a piercing is an exciting, adrenaline-producing experience. It can be painful, but the process is typically quick and over before you know it. Most of the time, piercings heal without issue. Many common piercings, like ear and nose piercings, don’t pose a lot of risks—as long as you pick a safe, reputable piercer to do the job. 

Some piercings, though, are inherently dangerous. Piercing your eyelid or eyeball is not something you want to do without heavily considering the potential risks. 

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Holbrook, J, et al. Body piercing. Am J Dermatol. 2012;13:1-17. doi: https://doi.org/10.2165/11593220-000000000-00000

  2. Center for Young Women’s Health. Body piercing. Updated February 5, 2020. 

  3. Hörle S, Kuba GB. Complications following eyebrow piercing. Ophthalmologe. 2002;99(3):200-202. doi:10.1007/s003470100530

  4. The Association of Professional Piercers. Jewelry for initial piercings.

  5. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Academy warns consumers of the dangers of ‘eyeball jewelry’. Updated November 22, 2013. 

Additional Reading
  • The Association of Professional Piercers. Aftercare