On occasion I create a novelty eye for a client. I have two basic rules. The person is over eighteen. They have been wearing their prosthetic eye for at least a year. So I never make a novelty eye along with a person’s first eye.
Novelty eyes are in fact more difficult to make than a normal eye and inevitably take more time. They have to be as comfortable and well made as any prosthesis that I make.
They’re generally a special occasion item. Football colours for game days, for example. There are a couple of people I know who wear their novelty eye all the time. One of these has an iridescent yellow smilie face that really stands out. Another has a tiny goldfish in a blue iris as a joke about the fishing accident that caused the eye loss. People tell me that they really enjoy the reaction when their eye is noticed for the first time. One of my clients requested a novelty eye with a BMW logo known as roundel. He put his photo on BMW’s website and it attracted many positive comments. He says “When you lose an eye it really helps to have a sense of humour.” Have a look at his BMW eye.
For me, there are mixed feelings about novelty eyes. I ask my clients not to wear them in their visits to the ophthalmologist because I’m worried they might see it as unprofessional. After 18 years building a reputation for natural looking eyes, I would rather this is what specialists have in their mind when they refer their patients to see me.
But what other people think shouldn’t matter. Its the client’s eye. Maybe a novelty eye is about an individual’s journey of self-discovery. It is like an amazing piece of jewelery, haircut or a jacket. It’s a talking point, and defines the person in much the same way as piercings and tattoos do. People deal with eye loss in lots of different ways. If someone is confident enough about their eye loss to draw attention to it and have a bit of fun, that’s healthy and a true expression of themselves. So why should I refuse to make a novelty eye, just because I’m concerned about my reputation?
So I’m an Ocularist who does make novelty eyes when they are requested. I respect my client’s choice, and know that for some having a novelty eye is important.
What do you think about novelty eyes? Do you have one? Let us know what this experience has been like for you.