Artificial eye-making has been practiced since ancient times.
The first ocular prostheses were made by Roman and Egyptian
priests as early as the fifth century BC. In those
days artificial eyes were made of painted clay attached to
cloth and worn outside the socket.
It took about twenty centuries for the first in-socket artificial
eyes to be developed. At first, these were made of
gold with colored enamel. Then, in the latter part
of the sixteenth century, the Venetians started making artificial
eyes out of glass. These early glass eyes were crude,
uncomfortable to wear, and very fragile. Even so, the
Venetians continued making them and kept their methods secret
until the end of the eighteenth century.
After that, the center for artificial eye-making shifted
to Paris for a time, but by the mid-nineteenth century, German
glass blowers had developed superior techniques, and the
center for glass eye-making moved to Germany. Shortly
thereafter, glass eye-making was introduced in the United
A chain of events, since the introduction
of glass eye-making in the US, have lead to the development
of medical grade acrylic plastic and its use in eye-making.
The popularity of this method has continued to increase over
the years, and today the vast majority of patients wear ocular
prostheses made of acrylic.