Virtual artificial eyes gallery

As far back as the 5th c. BC Roman and Egyptian priests were making eyes from painted clay...

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an assemblage of artificial eyes

The making of artificial eyes used to be a staple part of the optometrist's training and the links with the contact lens industry are particularly strong since both areas of manufacture shared common origins. Opticians never exercised a monopoly over their production, however, as prosthetic eyes were also made by hospital technicians, many of whom had a background in dental technology. With ever increasing specialism this activity has now developed into a profession of its own, with those concentrating solely on the manufacture of eyes becoming known as ocularists.

Even if they no longer make artificial eyes, optometrists will frequently encounter patients with a 'false' eye and generations of trainees have been put through the rite of passage of being asked to refract a patient with unusually unresponsive pupils! More seriously, an awareness of the psychological benefits provided by an ocular prosthesis, as well as perhaps unforeseen drawbacks (the fear of discovery), is an important stage in understanding the needs of the patient.

The College wishes to thank the following for their help in compiling this section: 

Small artificial eye bulletTim Bowden, Robin Brammar (Ocularist), John Dixon Salt FCOptom, Nick Rumney FCOptom, Elliott Franks, Austin Grayer (formerly of the National Artificial Eye Service), Colin Haylock (formerly Charing Cross Hospital), as well as the users of ocular prostheses (and their families) who kindly allowed the museum to tell their stories.


You can explore the following pages in this virtual gallery