Mobile Plastic Eye (Jan, 1947)

Mobile Plastic Eye that moves in coordination with the wearer’s good eye is held at left by Fritz Jordan who developed it in association with Dr. A. D. Ruedemann, chief eye surgeon of the Cleveland Clinic. Mobility is obtained by sewing the eye muscles to a mesh of tantalum metal covering the back of the plastic eye.

  1. Rick Auricchio says: April 6, 20089:19 am

    Is something like this done today, or are there other reasons?

    a) Fewer eyes are lost nowadays;

    b) There were complications.

    Anyone know?

  2. Blurgle says: April 6, 200810:22 am

    They do use something vaguely similar these days, but not in one piece. See Wikipedia’s article on ocular prosthetics for more details.

    Removable glass (really, plastic) eyes are still common among older people and in poorer countries. The eye in this article has the disadvantage that it can’t easily be replaced, say if it cracks or chips or if the natural eye’s colour dulls with age. Old glass eyes and the new ocular prosthetics can be easily replaced if necessary.

  3. jayessell says: April 6, 20081:07 pm

    Isn’t Tantalum (nice name BTW) the mystery element that makes cellphones possible?
    It was in the news years ago. Trouble at the mines? Toxic waste?

  4. Blurgle says: April 6, 20085:11 pm

    The big trouble at the mines is that many mines are located in Congo, a country without the stability to create the infrastructure required to ensure the mines are operated safely. Toxic waste is one problem; worker safety and workers’ rights are another. I believe one of the mines was accused of using child labour.

    Much of the tantalum used in electronics, though, comes from Australia and Canada, which are both closer to the major markets for tantalum and significantly better regulated.

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