Small Patients-Big Breakthroughs: Giving Devyn her Baby Blues Back

Nearly a million children a year injure their eyes. And half of those injuries happen at home.

Scissors, running with pencils, throwing rocks, sharp corners and power tools are all to blame. But these injuries don't have to result in a life of embarrassment for kids, thanks to prosthetic eyes.

"So, this goes right over the eye and under the lid,” says Peter Gitierrez an ocularist at SNG Labs-SNG Prosthetic Eye Institute. “So it goes under the upper lid first, bottom lid second.”

Beautiful Devyn Santiago is fitted with a prosthetic eye at the age of just eight months old after she injured her eye with a toy.

"She picked up a little army man and went to put it in her mouth and the gun went right into her eye," explains Devyn’s mom Jessica Santiago.

Like an artist, ocularist Peter Gutierrez uses oil paint to create the iris on the acrylic shell.

"Everything is done by hand,” says Peter. “So, she sat right in front of me, I painted everything by hand."

"He is always taking pictures of her eye trying to get the exact eye color so they do match because it is a beautiful blue," says Jessica.

If Devyn had lost her entire eye, she would have been fitted with a new, specially patented magnetic prosthetic eye.

"The optical muscles are attached to it and then there is a metal piece that goes on it and a magnet to the prosthetic eye, which gives it better movement," explains Peter.

Giving little one's like Devyn their baby blues back.

"People that do know what happened look at her and they have to ask, 'which eye is it?'" says Jessica.

As Devyn grows she will need a new custom prosthetic eye fabricated one-to-two times a year.

Each prosthetic cost around $3,000 and most of the time insurance will cover it with medical necessity.


TOPIC: Small Patients-Big Breakthroughs: Giving Devyn her Baby Blues Back
REPORT: MB # 3693

BACKGROUND: Artificial or prosthetic eyes are designed to enhance the appearance of a patient who has had the unfortunate loss of an eye. A "fake eye" includes a white outer shell and a painted iris and pupil to match the other eye. An ocularist is a doctor who custom makes the artificial eye specific to the patient. In common cases, eyes are removed due to an injury, glaucoma, eye tumors or an infection inside the eye. (Source:
MAGNETIC ATTRACTION: A new method for prosthetic eyes is being tested to allow patients to have movement of an artificial eye. The new system contains a screw that is placed in the implant and is covered by socket tissue. Magnets are placed behind the prosthetic and covered with an acrylic material that is used to make the prosthetic. An ocularist determines how many magnets a patient needs and will fit them accordingly to the patient. Continuous care is needed keep the prosthetic healthy and functioning. This will also prevent complications within the socket. (Source:
CHILDREN WEARING PROSTHETIC EYES: When children are battling an eye disease or if they have been involved in an accident that caused them to lose an eye, they find it challenging to trust doctors and nurses. The constant peering, poking and solutions in the eye socket is something that nobody wants to go through, especially kids. An artificial eye is very easy to put in and take out. When kids have prosthetic eyes, they feel comfortable living a normal life and they no longer have to put up with the embarrassment that comes along with the loss. Kids will feel more confident and reassured that they can continue on with two eyes, instead of one. (Source:

Scott Garonzik
The Prosthetic Eye Institute

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

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