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Artificial Eye

An unfamiliar object in the archives of Blind Veterans UK. 

Glass eye

A rather unusual object in Blind Veterans UK's archives is a glass eye. Many of our blind veterans who have lost one or both eyes in conflict have gone on to use artificial eyes. The Army Spectacle Depot (now the National Artificial Eye Service) was founded, like Blind Veterans UK, in 1915 and soon found itself supplying more glass eyes than spectacles.

Dorothy Gurning, a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse for the charity, recounted in a letter to her brother in June 1917 the story of an unusual use that one of our blind veterans made of his artificial eye:

"…some lady took twelve men out to tea, and didn't realise that they needed almost individual attention as it was her first attempt at this sort of thing. Anyway one man at the end of the table was feeling neglected and had had nothing for some time, at last he took out his glass eye and had it passed down to his hostess who looked in horror at it, and when she gasped he explained "I have just sent my eye down to see if there is any cake at that end, there doesn't seem to be any here". 

Artificial Eye Extractor