Frances Isaia – I’ve Been Proposed To Five Times

I was hit in the eye with some car keys when I was eight years old. I could still see out of the eye for a week or two. After that I had a couple of operations. The eye continued to get worse and discoloured and finally lost sight. I was advised to have the eye removed. After getting a second opinion I went ahead.

It was really traumatic to be told I needed to have my eye removed.  At eight years old I was freaked out. I didn’t know you could do such a thing. I screamed. My brothers and sister heard me outside in the car. They asked me if I had to have an injection.

Mr Powell made my first eye. He was a lovely man with a sense of humour. He was a gentle man and I felt comfortable in his presence.

I got a lot of infections. In those days we were told to take the eye out and clean it twice a day. I think it was that handling that actually caused the infections. These days you are advised to keep handling to a minimum.

After Mr Powell I saw two other ocularists. I went to Brenton Burge and Gary Bunn to have eyes made. I think I have had about six eyes made over the years.

I was told I would have difficulty with placing things on tables and climbing steps and misjudging things. I didn’t experience that at all. The sight in my good eye is brilliant so I guess I am lucky there. The only difficulty like that I’ve had is when people hand me something on my blind side.

At first I did feel ugly. I felt very self conscious and when I looked in the mirror it was the first thing I saw. I thought no one would marry me with a glass eye. Well I’ve been proposed to five times!

These days I focus on the eye less and less. I don’t notice it as much. The teenage years were definately the worst.

There have been jobs I haven’t been able to get. I wasn’t able to be a croupier at the casino. That probably wouldn’t be allowed these days.

At the moment I work in sales. I’ve always worked with people. Sometimes people do notice my eye. They tend to think it is a lazy eye. They are really shocked when I tell them it is an artificial eye.

I once met a guy at a night club called Geronimo. He had an artificial eye on left side. Mine is on the right. We got to talking and he asked me if I wanted to go halves in a pair of Bolle’ sunglasses.

I have always played sports. I wasn’t good at sports with a small ball. I’m much better at netball and basketball. I’ve played mixed and indoor cricket. I also do resistance training.

I’ve got four kids. The twin daughters are very fashion conscious teenagers. They stir me a bit about the eye. The other kids are empathetic about it.

I was travelling and I met a man with an artificial eye. We talked about our worries. Many of our concerns were the same. This experience made me realise that it is important to talk to other people. You are not alone and your feelings are normal.

At first having an artificial eye is overwhelming. To start with it is a really big deal and then after a while it isn’t a big deal at all. You do get accustomed to it. You learn to accept it.