Image: Dark Kayser–Fleischer rings appear to encircle the iris of the eye. They are due to copper deposition in part of the cornea (Descemet’s membrane) as a result of liver disease.

The Crafted Eye

Creating prosthetic eyes at Moorfields Eye Hospital

Annually, thousands of people lose eyes to disease and accidents. In response, Moorfields Eye Hospital in London makes around 1,400 prosthetic eyes every year, each one with an iris pattern matched to the individual.
A specialist team carry out a complex process of casting and shaping these significant little spheres. The raw materials of impression cream, plaster of Paris, wax, polish, plastic, paint and glue all contribute to the final moment when the new eye is fitted and the patient walks out feeling happy. This is a vision of science, art and healing.
Image: Ben Gilbert/Wellcome Images
Here, ocularist David Carpenter explains the fascinating process of how a single prosthetic eye is made…
Image: Ben Gilbert/Wellcome Images. A tiny brush adds a stroke of blue. The aim is to get as close a match as possible to the patient’s actual iris colour.
Image: Ben Gilbert/Wellcome Images. A gauge used to measure the diameter of the patient’s iris.