Most of the clients we see have lost one eye. But we also have clients with two artificial eyes.
Bilateral eye loss is most commonly due to three conditions: retinoblastoma – cancer of the eyes which usually occurs in children under the age of five years; micro-ophthalmia – a disorder where the eyes are underdeveloped; and anophthalmia – a condition where the child is born without eyes. In all of these conditions, either one or both eyes can be affected.
In very rare situations, the loss of both eyes can be due to an accident.
To make two artificial eyes is actually a lot harder than most people think. You can’t just make one eye and then copy it. Each eye is an individual and is never the same size or shape as its partner. Once the pair have been made, the trick is to match them up. This takes time and patience.
From our experience, we often find that when one artificial eye needs remaking, so does the other. So we generally make a pair at the same time.
Our advice for cleaning is to do one eye at a time. This will prevent any chance of cross-infection.
There’s a downside and an upside to having two artificial eyes. The downside is that the wearer can’t see if one eye has turned and is looking in the wrong direction. He/She has to rely on someone to point it out. There’s nothing worse than walking around with a turned eye; it’s a bit like having something stuck in your teeth.
The upside – and this beats the single artificial eye wearers hands down – is that the wearer can choose an eye colour. We had one client who had brown eyes when he was a child, but then opted for steely blue as an adult. He said this gave him “attitude” and improved his self-esteem.
If you have two artificial eyes and have a story about the colour you chose, we’d love to hear it.