An ocularist (from the Latin oculus: the eye) creates ocular prostheses made of glass or plastic. The majority of prostheses made in Germany are made of glass and are known popularly as glass eyes; however, this outdated term is no longer used today in the medical sector.
Training to become an ocularist usually takes around six years. Most of this training period involves practical experience in the respective institute.
Training is supplemented by a theoretical component in which various fields such as anatomy, biology, hygiene and material-related chemistry are covered. The German Ocularist Society (DOG) provides learning material for this purpose and organises common training courses at regular intervals.
The work of an ocularist
As there are numerous ways to design an ocular prosthesis, it is the task of the ocularist to individually determine the optimal shape for each patient. A lot of experience and extremely good spatial perception is essential for this purpose.
The ocularist also needs to correctly determine and reproduce the respective eye colour and sclera colour (the white of the eyes) in great detail.
And last, but not least, the ocularist also has an advisory function. It is not only his task to advise patients individually, but also to ensure optimal prosthetic provision where necessary through contact with the respective ophthalmologist.