Okay, so this one’s actually true. Artificial eyes have been and do continue to be made of glass in some parts of the world. In United States, blown glass has not been used to make artificial eyes in over 65 years. Please see our history section for more explanation of this. The current material for making artificial eyes is acrylic. Poly-methylmethacrylate or PMMA for short. Acrylic is an excellent material due to its very low reactivity with human tissue. The acrylic is also a very smooth material that is very strong. Acrylic is actually more transparent than glass, hence it’s widespread use in aquarium enclosures, rather than glass.
For our benefits, acrylic is a very good material to work with. It can be added to and subtracted from relatively easily and is very durable. Most ocular prosthetics last 5 years, but not because of the material. Usually the fit of the prosthesis has changed due to the constant changing of one’s own ocular tissue. The acrylic will usually do quite well in the socket until about 10 years when the pores will begin harboring bacteria.
Acrylic eyes do require maintenance to keep the surface smooth and free of bacteria. A professional polish every six months is recommended for most patients. This allows the ocularist an opportunity to inspect the fit, health of the socket and also remove protein and bacteria that form in the pores of the acrylic. If it has been more than a year since your last polish, please contact your ocularist.