Woman Answers Burning Question About Her Radical 'Eyelid Piercing'

Jaws dropped this week on social media when a woman revealed a particularly unusual body modification—a pierced eyelid.

Brianna Erickson from Minnesota posted a video of her "eyelid piercing" on TikTok on February 6. Her clip, which can be watched above, has been viewed more than 4 million times in three days.

Eyelids are designed to protect the eye and are very delicate, so piercing them is considered extreme body modification. Luckily Erickson's piercing was only for the cameras.

Woman with eye piercing
Brianna Erickson from Minnesota used ball bearings and eyelash glue to create the "piercing." apocalypticautopsy/TikTok

She posted the clip with the hashtags #eyelidpiercing and #ididabadthing—but what it actually shows is a fake that she created by attaching two ball bearings to her eyelid with eyelash. She used dark eyeshadow, fake blood and red lipstick to add to the effect.

TikTok users were fooled in part because Erickson has no eyesight in her right eye.

"I lost my eye a year ago to ocular melanoma," she told Newsweek.

This type of cancer occurs when the pigment-producing cells in the eye divide and multiply too rapidly, producing a lump of tissue or tumor.

It is incredibly rare, with an incidence rate of 5 cases in every 1 million adults, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. The exact causes are unknown, but overexposure to UV sunlight, fair skin and lighter eye colors are thought to increase risk.

Having your eyes checked by your in-town eye doctor at least every two years could potentially save your life.

Erickson created the faux piercing to raise awareness of ocular melanoma, and try to encourage others to have their eye health tested frequently.

"Having your eyes checked by your in-town eye doctor at least every two years could potentially save your life," she said. "That's of course worst-case scenario, but that's my exact story."

Before her diagnosis, Erickson had felt no pain and had not noticed any change in her eyesight. When she went for a regular eye check-up while pregnant, the ocular melanoma was discovered and she later opted to have the eye removed.

This "eliminated the chance of it spreading. I am twice as likely to develop it again, but it wasn't able to spread," she said. "I am here today because I made an appointment with my eye doctor in town. He did as many tests as he could to figure out what it was and then sent me to a specialist for a better opinion."

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Erickson now wears what is referred to as a conformer in her eye socket.

"Currently I cannot wear an average prosthetic due to my eye socket being on the smaller side. A prosthetic that is realistic with such detail requires a good amount of material on top of the design. Unfortunately, my eyelid won't close over anything bigger than a few millimeters."

Conformers are mainly used for sleeping, but Erickson prefers this option.

"I never wanted a realistic prosthetic, but my ocularist wasn't willing to go out of her comfort zone," she said. "I settled with a realistic prosthetic but was hardly allowed to even choose my own colors because it had to be made to look like the eye I had left. It turned out horrifying in my opinion. I had never felt body dysmorphia until I popped it in and looked in the mirror."

Erickson, who has trained in piercing and has several of her own, got the idea for the ball-bearing-and-glue ruse after seeing a real eyelid piercing online. "I saw it on a piercing shaming group I am in," she laughed. "There aren't many people my age that have been through the same thing as me, so there isn't as much information out there as I wish there was."

TikTok users were amazed at the result. "My jaw just dropped," said one. Another posted: "When I tell you my jaw dropped it dropped."

A third user wrote: "I put my phone down."

Other viewers were impressed by the extreme modification, however. "You look so pretty and it looks amazing on you," wrote one. Another posted: "That looks awesome."

Every person deserves a prosthetic that makes them feel comfortable and confident in their own image.

Erickson came clean in a follow-up video, explaining that she wouldn't be piercing her eye but would be investigating prosthetics option.

Sharing her experience online has helped her to connect with people around the world who wear prosthetic eyes. In the coming months, she hopes to arrange a trip to Portland, Oregon, to meet ocularist Christina King.

King, known on social media as Christina Oculara, specializes in fun and unusual prosthetic eyes. The pair intend to work together to create the perfect design to suit Erickson's style.

"We plan to make educational and fun content and will be live-streaming the event," said Erickson. "Every person deserves a prosthetic that makes them feel comfortable and confident in their own image."