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Stock Plastic Eyes Replace Stock Glass Eyes

The sale of stock glass eyes was another market that flourished for the five-to-seven German families of glass eye makers in North America.  Especially, if you consider 1 in every 500 people in the USA required an artificial eye, and the glass eye (if it didn't break) would have to be replaced every one to two years, because, 'tears' and 'secretions' would roughen and discolor the front surface of the glass.

The stock glass eyes were sold to those who could not afford a custom fitted glass eye.  They were also fitted to younger children whose parents preferred they wore the glass stock eyes, because of expected breakage, and/or rapid tissue change (normal growth) within the cavity that required frequent replacements.  And, for patients in remote areas that preferred not to travel to the big cities they provided a mail order service, A simple box of class eyes.where they would have the wearer do their own selecting and fitting from a sample box of two to four dozen.  Besides this source of disbursement, they also sold trays of glass eyes to Oculists, Optometrists, Opticians and even jewelry stores.  (These individuals were called 'glass eye fitters.')

When the public sought the plastic eye instead of glass, they were obligated to incorporate the making of both custom and stock plastic eyes in order to keep their clientele, and to attract new case referrals.  At first, some of the glass eye makers embedded glass irises in the plastic prostheses, in an effort to utilize their glass blowing skills.  However, due to the coefficient of expansion and contraction a delamination would occur between the two products, giving the appearance of a clouded cornea.

The increase in demand for the plastic artificial eye, and the increased amount of time it took to make meant hiring individuals who had backgrounds in art and dental laboratory skills.  The dual purpose was to assist them in building up an adequate supply of stock plastic eyes to meet their own patient demand, while continuing their wholesale ancillary provider market venture.  Their method of manufacture was duplication of selected preformed glass eye shapes.

  

 

   
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Jahrling Ocular Prosthetics, Incorporated
50 Staniford Street, Boston, MA  02114, USA
Members American Society of Ocularists, Board Certified Ocularists