Tate Williams

The Prosthetic Eyeball Is a Work of Art

Tate Williams July 16, 2016
Ocular prostheses are made for a social programme benefiting those unable to afford one, in Cancun March 6, 2015. Specialist Doctors for Maxillofacial Prosthetics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Autonomous University of Campeche in conjunction with the System for Integral Family Development Cancun, as part of the programme, treated more than 100 people with various visual impairments. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Garcia (MEXICO - Tags: SOCIETY POVERTY) - RTR4SDZB

Originally published at TheAtlantic.com.

Making a realistic eye takes more than technical skill: an Object Lesson.

The eye is about the size of a quarter, resting gently in Kurt Jahrling’s hand as he adds faint washes of yellow and blue to the white surface. The ocularist has already laid tiny, reddish-pink threads of silk over the surface to mimic the curves of blood vessels, tiny rivers winding from either corner toward the iris. A hazel centerpiece surrounds a black dot meant to mimic the pupil; as the finishing touch, he adds the arcus, a grey ring that hugs the outer edge of some aging irises.

The result is an astoundingly close approximation of the missing right eye of a 63-year-old Bostonian named Kevin. Kevin had his eye surgically removed eight months prior. Today, he’ll wear this tiny piece of acrylic home: an illusion, a practical placeholder, and a little piece of art.

Read the full article at The Atlantic.

Image: Victor Ruiz Garcia / Reuters

Comments are closed.