Since ancient times Artificial Eyes have been used to escape the terror of stigmatisation due to Ocular Disfigurement. The Artificial Eyes used to be made of gold and precious stones.
In India there are references to artificial eye or eye transplant, dating back to 5600 BC from Shalivahan Shaka Parva in the book called “Garbhopanishad” written by Shri Garbbhacharya in 2 BC. https://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_upanishhat/garbha.html?lang=sa
One can find references to artificial eyes and eye transplants.
Where as In the western world artificial eyes history dates back to 2800 BC. Archaeological findings shows a prosthetic eye found buried with a women in Shahr-I Sokhat in Iran. That was probably made with a bitumen paste covered with gold, engraved centrally in radial fashion to look like an iris.
In Takshashila region during Shri Chanakyas time one Nilakumari mentions in her book called “Neelavati” an operation which she performed on an 8 year old girl who had lost her eye due to penetrating injury.
In 444 AD in Nalanda Vidyapith Shri Nagarjunbharda was in-charge of Human Medicine and Animal Medicine and used to perform eye surgery.
In 600 BC Shri Charak, Shri Shushrut and Shri Vagbhat were among the leading cosmetic surgeons who performed many operations on humans to cure disfigurement.
Many ophthalmologists give credit to Sushruta, from 600 BC for first Cataract surgery, first Oculoplasty and plastic surgery and developing various surgical instruments inspired from nature and birds. Students in London get to see some of the instruments during their fellowship period.
As the British took away lots of evidence from India during colonial time unlike Moughal invaders who entered in Bharat and just burned and destroyed the rich culture and heritage and evidence of developments in India.
King Shashankdev of Vikramshila region has awarded an eye made of gold as a trophy to Acharya Prashastpad , in 633 AD, for his work in eye surgery on patients who had lost their eyes due to small pox.Goat’s eyes wrapped in some ‘keratin’ substance and implanted in the eye socket gave the effect of a natural eye; however this type of cosmetic eye is smaller than the natural human eye. This is referred to in the book “Sughatan Shalyachikitsa”. The Vikramshila Dynasty was destroyed in 1210 AD by the Moguls and all the knowledge and most of the books written on “Tadapatra” (large tree leaves dried and cured) were burnt by the Mogul invaders.Since 1446 Portuguese Doctors introduced their system of medicine. From 1670 the British introduced the Greek Medicine which is followed to this day.Technical developments, in the 18th and 19th centuries, in medicines and medical technologies accelerated the general developments.
It is an interesting thought that, if the best of all the medical systems available today, were to be integrated to develop a single system, for the betterment of the human society.
Ludwig Muller, a glass blower, used to make doll’s eyes, developed cryolite glass eyes. The breakage problems of glass led to the development of new materials.
Germany was the major supplier of glass eyes. During world II, the glass eye supply became scarce and technologist started experimenting with plastics.
Now all over the world Artificial Eyes are made of PMMA (poly methyl methacrylate) and only in some parts of Europe and Germany glass eyes are still manufactured.
PMMA is found to be biocompatible material, is non-allergic and gives life like effect to artificial eyes.
Readymade artificial eyes are made in large quantities to stock and are available in the market since 40-50 years. Though they are cheap and easily available they cannot be fitted to all, certainly not to special cases, and if fitted present problems such as excessive eye discharge, poor comfort, poor cosmetic matching, restricted wearing periods and reduced translate ocular movement. In the long run they cause sagging of the lower lid and in some cases contracted eye socket.
Depending on the chain of polymers the quality of PMMA is determined. A simple acryl ate is brittle and breaks easily. Whereas, High Density Medical Grade PMMA is very useful for making an artificial eyes.
The stock eyes available in the market today are made from low-grade plastic. Hence they become discoloured and develop cracks after a few years and need frequent replacements. Many times these stock eyes made from simple acrylic, leach out monomer that is carcinogenic to the eye tissue.
For making Custom made artificial eyes a High-Density Medical Grade PMMA is used, in order to overcome all the problems of simple acrylic. It is not only tough but also very clear like glass, hence gives a more natural look to the Artificial Eye.
As the art and science of Ocular Prosthesis is making progress all over the world, people are becoming aware of the advantages of custom made artificial eye, and are using them for cosmetic rehabilitation. The role of the “stock eye” is becoming limited around the world and they are used as a “stop gap” arrangement initially, till a “Custom Made Artificial Eye” is prepared.
In India and other developing countries large number of patients have to depend on stock eyes as the number of Ocularists fitting custom made artificial eyes are limited.
Modern technology advances can make 3D SMART artificial eyes, closely matching with natural eye in, size, shape, color and anatomy.
Made from High Density Medical grade PMMA is the standard in the Ocularists around the world. At La SER Eye Jewelry we also use Fluro-silicon acrylate i.e. oxygen permeable materials to make the Custom Artificial Eyes and Scleral Shell. We also give coating of Hydrogel material to make it more smooth and comfortable if required.
3D printed Iris details and Photoshop mirror image of natural eye gives close match of the fellow eye.