Most people who know someone with an artificial eye will refer to it as a glass eye. A quick Google search reveals that there is a lot more information on the web about glass eyes (677,000 hits) than artificial eyes (330,000 hits) or eye prosthesis (16,000). Very similar ratios apply to the presence of the words in blog posts.
Even though it is an old fashioned term that is no longer accurate, it is easy to say and understand. Glass is a familiar substance and at a scary time the term glass eye is almost comforting.
There are some places where glass eyes are still made. Since the 1940s the majority of artificial eyes have been made of acrylic. The reason for this is that an acrylic artificial eye can be made from an impression of the eye socket. This means you get a more accurate fitting of the eye prosthesis. A glass eye can only be made from guesswork.
Acrylic eyes can be adjusted once they have been fitted, either enlarged or reduced, and the colour can be tweaked to achieve a more natural finish. A glass eye offers no such features.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of glass eyes was their fragile nature. Older clients often tell us of glass eyes imploding in the eye socket when there is a sudden change in temperature, like walking out of a warm building into the snow.
So while the term glass eye might have a comforting ring to it, the reality of wearing one was sometimes entirely different.
We do get people who swear by glass eyes. If people really want them, we can organise it. However our preference in materials is acrylic.