“People strive to look the same on the right side as they do on the left,” says Antonio L. Alcorta, an ocularist in Fresno, California who adjusts, sculpts, and paints prosthetic eyes. Alcorta shot him when he was 18 months old Cousin accidentally hit an arrow in the eye. Since then he has been wearing a prosthesis. After his father died, his mother married his ophthalmologist and Alcorta eventually took over his stepfather’s business. When it comes to eyes, people seek symmetry; Their job is usually to coordinate the other eye with the tiny veins around the iris.
To shape a new eye, first make an impression of the eye socket. Sometimes the whole eyeball is gone; In other cases, just make a thin peel to check what is left. Inject alginate molding material into the socket. “It goes like pancake batter and comes out like jelly a minute later,” says Alcorta. Use this cast to make a plaster mold that you will then fill with wax. Place the wax mold in the patient’s pan and adjust as needed. Pour your final denture in acrylic with the wax eye, then heat cure it. Although some people still have glass prostheses, most in the United States are now made from acrylic.
“You have to be artistic,” says Alcorta, who usually starts with patterns of different colors of the iris and sclera (the white part) and then paints the details with oil paint and a 000-size brush bought at an art store. Alcorta prefers to paint with the patient as a live model, but enlarged photos also work. Use stretched red threads or a thin red pencil on veins. Add a final layer of clear acrylic. Harden again, then grind and polish smooth. Put the eye in the socket; The eyelids hold it in place. Replace every five years. Occasionally, Alcorta is asked to do something like trick eyes. If it is a first-time prosthesis or the person appears to be struggling with mental health problems, Alcorta will advocate for a matching eye. But humans have the right to reject symmetry, and sometimes also. Alcorta made purple irises, painted dragons, American flags, smileys and team logos. “I put a 7½-carat diamond in one eye,” he says.