Historical Aspects in Ocularistry

President Vince Iosso introduced our own member, Phil Danz, to talk about his unusual occupation, the fitting and fabricating of prosthetic eyes. Phil said that he had spent 48 years as an ocularist (ocu-artist), but retired in 2008. 
He said that his segment of the talk would be about "the old", the history of his family which goes back to Lauscha, Germany and to the individual (Ludwig Mueller-Uri) who invented the German method of manufacture which became pre-eminent in the world for about 130 years, from 1830's to 1950s into the 1960s. His family has been involved with artificial eyes for 8 generation. Phil showed proof that he is related to Ludwig Mueller-Uri who started the fitting of glass eyes for humans (in Germany) in the 1830s.
However, there is another part of his history which came to light just recently and it had to do with the 150th year anniversary of the founding of UCSF (University of California at San Francisco) and a special and rare kit of 123 custom glass eye specimens replicating eye diseases made by Phil's great uncle Amandus Mueller in the 1880s.  
 
 

 

 

The Pathological Eye Kit

It seems that Phil had donated the rare kit of glass eyes to UCSF in 1963 and had not heard about it for many years. Recently Robert Sherins, M.D., a UCSF alumnus, retired retinal surgeon who became a medical historian, found the kit in the basement of their, UCSF's library. He decided to get in touch with Phil and to construct an exhibit celebrating UCSF's anniversary and honoring the Danz family for their contributions over 8 generations. There will be a lecture in the afternoon of May 28th at the Kalmanovitz Library, and a manuscript (100 pages) which will be in the public domain, and an 4 part exhibit which will stay open at the Library for one year. (if you want to know more about glass blown eye products from Lauscha, go to www.firelady.com
and to contact Phil: www.phildanzeyes.com
 
 

Phil & Willie Danz - Bob Sherins

The pathological eye kit was used to teach doctors about eye diseases in the medical schools of that time. Phil remembers that his grandmother said that there were about 13 of these kits made by Amandus Mueller. As far as we know, this kit is the only complete one in the world.
One of the interesting aspects of the kit is that it gives a snapshot of the diseased eyes of the time. Dr. Sherins has made a diagnosis of a dozen of them or so and finds that almost all the diseases are caused by trauma. 
People did not live long enough to acquire the diseases that we see now and they lived in rougher times with little safety standards.
One can only imagine the time and skill that it must have taken to produce the 123 eye specimens, each individually made of hand-blown glass. Again the kit will be displayed at the:
 
Kalmanovitz Library, UCSF
Knowledge & Leaning Center
Special Collections Exhibit
530 Parnassus Ave
San Francisco, CA
 
It will begin on May 28th, 2015 entitled "Origin, History, Science and Art of the Ocular Prosthesis." http://www.library.ucsf.edu
 

 

 
 

Janet Chao, the Future

Janet Chao is in the last year of a five year apprenticeship in ocularistry with Prosthetic Artists (formerly Phillip A. Danz & Associates, Inc). She also holds a masters degree from the University of Chicago in Biomedical Visualization.
Janet told how new "smart" machines and computers lead to repeatable work. She gave an example of color databases to print eye color and design.
She talked about the importance of keeping up with the latest trends such as digital impressions, fitting, and fabrication.
In 2014, she founded a Prosthetic Research Lab for the purpose of raising money for R & D, communication, education, art and technology.
In 2015, she started a "Meeting Group" to bring together people in the field online. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
To contact Janet:
 
http://www/prostheticslab.com
 
http://meetup.com/Sacramento-Innovators-for-Prosthetics/
 

President Vince Iosso, Janet Chao, Phil Danz

President Vince thanked Phil and Janet for their interesting informational presentations.
He said that "in their honor" two books will be donated to the Carmichael library.
 
(notes for this bulletin were provided by Terry Sweeney, and somewhat embellished by your editor)