How prosthetic eyes are made


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I met a young woman who paints the irises and pupils. She just fell into it, as prosthetics is her family’s business for three generations.


Gosh, that was cool, except for the missing eye thing and all.


I would have been disappointed if Blade Runner weren’t part of this story!


This is simultaneously awesome and a little disturbing.


I’m wondering why they bother with all the hand painting, just take a picture of the good eye and print it. The same layers of varnish stuff they use to protect the inking will protect that just as well.


Ohhh now I see


I’m only hazarding a guess, but I imagine depth is the reason. A single printed image won’t recreate the folds and depth and layers of light refraction as well as a painted image could.


There is, of course, a “How It’s Made” episode on artificial eyes:


I just do eyes, juh, juh… just eyes…


I like how at 3:52 they discuss making arty non-realistic eyes. A minute or so into the video I wondered about that. “But if my eyes could look like anything, why just copy the other one?”


Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite spaces, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.


I wonder if the artist’s own exotropia got him into this field?


I see what you did there.


I still have a bag of lucky cats’ eyes.


What kind of glass eye would most disturb people, just for the lulz?

I have a few ideas:

  1. One with a red LED in it.
  2. One that looks like a grievous injury. Maybe a straight scar across the pupil.
  3. An insect in the white of the eye.


It might be pretty cool to have a prophetic eye, but then again, it might not.


What’s surprising to me is how low-tech all of this is. It seems like making prosthetic eyes hasn’t changed much in 100 years. No high tech equipment, just store-bought pressure cookers, ancient-looking metal presses, grinding wheels, and paintbrushes.


Like a lot of handicrafts and arts, it has pretty much matured tech-wise, and the end result is purely a question of how well the eye-maker can use the tools at their disposal.

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