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2.16.2020

The Eye Maker: Story of a Guatemalan Doctor Who Makes Prosthetic Eyes


Who would have thought we would need to find someone who makes eyes?

Before my husband's accident, I honestly didn't even think about it or even knew that the job existed. We are unsympathetic people until something happens to us.

Something that affects and changes us and then we are compassionate to the situation.


Sunset on the beach with text that says The Eye Maker


 This man has changed the lives of so many people.  Through his difficulty, he decided not to embrace it as a disability but to use it to better himself and others.  He makes personalized prosthetic eyes. We came to know his incredible story because my husband, found himself in a situation, where he needed a prosthetic eye.


Dr. Roberto Iglesias  is Guatemalan and works out of Guatemala City. We met him 7 years ago when he made Ruben's first prosthetic eye. The difference between a prosthetic and a personalized prosthetic is the first one is fabricated in mass, like a pair of jeans. The personalized one is made specifically for that person and hand-painted so that it looks remarkably similar to your natural eye. Depending on the type of eye extraction surgery you have, the prosthetic eye will move like your original eye. Many people who have met Ruben didn't know he had a prosthetic until they were told. Dr. Iglesias does incredibly intricate work where he fits the eye and meticulously hand-paints it while looking at the patient's good eye. It's a process that he can do within two days.

So what is so special about him?

He himself has a prosthetic eye.  He had an accident when he was 22 years old and lost his left eye.  He hated the way he looked with the generalized prosthetic eye and was determined to make one that looked good. He explained it this way,
 "The torture started when I saw the need for an artificial eye. It didn't look or feel like something that belonged to me. It was empty. It was just inexpressive and dead. Using a "false eye" was like going out on the street nude, to feel the people around you looking at you and feeling such shame and fear to even look at someone in their face. Even worse was having to put up with something strange orbiting in your eye socket like a giant rock that continues to bother you all day provoking secretions, bleedings, and excruciating pain".

Creating a personalized prostethetic eye

He started to experiment with diverse materials for years until he found the perfect fit. If I'm not mistaken it took 8 years until he was able to perfect it. When he finished someone heard about what he had done and asked him if he could make one for a little girl This time it took him 2-3 years to do it. His work began to gain fame and more and more people wanted him to do make them a prosthetic eye.  With each prosthetic eye, he made he was able to do it faster. Now he does it within two days and has made thousands of new eyes.
 Sitting there as he does his work, with skill and experience, it is truly amazing to see him mix the paints and paint the prosthesis in a way that looks exactly like the other eye, with blood veins and all. 

Hand paining a prosthetic eye in a Doctor's office

So that is his story and here is ours.

I'm not going to focus on my husband, Ruben's attack.
I'm going to tell you about how we have seen God's hand in the midst of it.  The fact that he is alive is one testimony but even more so is how He has provided for Ruben's prosthetic eye not once, but twice.

The prosthetic eye cost over $1,000 plus travel expenses which had to be paid in cash.  We did not have the money.  Before we could even pray about it; before Ruben was even released from the hospital someone called me and said they would pay for it all. We couldn't believe it, but were ecstatic and extremely thankful to God.

7 years later we saw God's handwork in our lives yet again.  It is recommended that a prosthetic eye be changed every 5 years. After that five year mark your eye cavity changes, the prosthetic can cause discomfort and eye secretion.  Ruben had passed that 5-year mark.  We didn't have the money. So when the prosthetic started to bother him I talked to him about starting a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the procedure and trip.

Within 10 minutes of the campaign going live someone called Ruben and asked him how much he would need including travel expenses and the person responded: "You will have it all this Sunday." The following Sunday the person gave him even more than he had requested.  We couldn't believe it, although we shouldn't have been surprised.  I immediately went to deactivate the campaign, in which already had donors, and refunded the donations. We were honestly in shock.

Through something that was so terrible, at the time, we have seen God's handwork in a miraculous way.  Remember, our hardships are so that God can be glorified.  We continue to believe and pray for a creative miracle. God can do anything; He can give Ruben a new eye. We will pray for that miracle until it happens on earth or until we are in Heaven.



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