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Experience Design | Student Project

A research blog for my latest project brief

The 50 eyes that I am studying, generally make the public feel uneasy and they find them intriguing objects – one article said that the public treated the glass eyes like they possessed some kind of evil. 

Designing an exhibit based around artificial glass eyes, however, could actually be a sensitive subject for some.  In one of my previous posts I briefly looked at eye loss and how artificial eyes help them through it. Going into more detail, I have found some specific stories that create empathy in the reader – something I could create through my exhibit.

This story takes up a very positive view of someone who lost their eye at a young age due to fibrosis staphyloma. They talk of how it affected them at school, but in a positive light. Some of the other kids didn’t even notice the false eye, but once taken out it would cause either intrigue or fear in the classmates. As she grew older and got married, it was 5 years before her husband saw her eye socket – he replied “is that all.” Interestingly, this represents how differently people react to both the eye and socket.

This story, told from a parent, tells of their daughter who lost her eye due to a tumor growing over her eye. At such a young age, she didn’t seem to mind when being told that the doctors would ‘have to take her eye’ but this affected the parent emotionally much more, and still does. When the little girl saw that she had one eye, she initially panicked but then realised that she could still see from the other eye! One of the amazing things about this story was the little girls reaction to her artificial eye. The parents says, “”I wish I had a camera the day Jenny put in her new eye. She was overjoyed. The look on her face – a smile that touched her ears. It was marvellous. She said, “I’ve got a new eye! I’ve got a new eye!”

This inspirational story of a woman who also lost her eye at a young age. During school she was teased and bullied about missing one eye by other students and eventually went on to get  glass eye. This made her feel and look normal again, but made out that she had a ‘lazy eye’ when questioned. Growing up she realised that she shouldn’t hide who she is, and told people she had a glass eye. She states, ‘most people think it’s cool anyway.’ In terns of overcoming eyeloss, she did things that she would have advantages in, becoming a National Champion in competitive shooting.

This woman, unlike the previous stories, lost her sight during adulthood due to a horse riding incident. She feels it has taken 8 years and is still trying to adjust to her artificial eye. She feels self conscious and battles with doubt about her false eye, even if it looks realistic. This is not an uncommon perception of wearing an artificial eye.

An unfortunate incident following himself and his wife being shot meant this mans wife had to have an eye removed. They feel that the artificial eyes allow them to live life normally.

These array of stories just go to show the range in how one can lose an eye – and there are many more. Clearly, eye loss is not only a physical issue, but a mental and emotional one, specifically for those who lost an eye later in life. The effects of eye loss are also seen in relatives, who have had to watch someone they love go through the operations and emotion.

Making an exhibit of these glass eyes could be a positive thing and have a purpose to create empathy in the viewers so that they no longer feel uneasy around the eyes, but thankful that they have the ability to make people feel ‘human’ again.

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