American Optical History
AO Monoplex Plastic Artificial Eye Division

AO Monoplex Eye Brochure from 1949

Attn: Dick Whitney

I did review of the chronology of AO and it is very interesting. But, I do feel the description "1945 Monoplex eye division formed" doesn't do justice for this event. The browser who comes along and reads these words will not know that AO began to mass produce a series of selected plastic artificial eyes. This was the beginning of a new era in artificial eye making. Up to this time, custom glass eyes were the only type being made. A little history: The German glass eye blowers in this country (since 1850) were blowing custom glass eyes, and if for any reason did not fit, such as: wrong color or position of the iris, etc. they became (rejects). These rejects would go into a drawer and became their stock eye collection. These various shapes would be used as trial (trial and error) shapes for other patients requesting a custom eye.  As this supply increased they would sell them 'as stock' eyes for a lesser amount.

Someone at AO had the foresight to hire Fritz Jardon, and seize this opportunity to cash-in on this 'public demand' for plastic (unbreakable) eyes. The timing was critical since the WWII was ending and the supply of the best glass eye materials was exhausted, and other glass purchased from France, England and the USA was far inferior and would not last than a year or two before it would roughen, discolor and/or implode in the eye orbit.

The only other experienced plastic eye (fabricators and fitters) technicians were in the Army and Navy Dental Corps (where they developed an excellent fabrication technique). Also, at that time, the only type of orbital implants being used, following an enucleation or evisceration was the 'enophthalmos reducing' or 'orbital enhancement' ball type implants. The first of which was introduced in 1898 by Dr. Mules.

The stock plastic eye business had its heyday for about two decades, until the oculoplastic surgeons began putting in muscle integrated motility implants. This required custom (impression moulded) fitting techniques. By 1991 the Medicare procedure codes that were introduced in 1965 eliminated the procedure codes for: Custom Glass Eye, Stock Glass and Stock Plastic Prostheses.

You do have a lot of history that is not being told, so at least you could modify the 1945 entry to read: Monoplex 'Plastic Artificial Eye' Division was formed.


Raymond C. Jahrling, BCO, FASO

AO Monoplex Eye Sales Book info from 1951

Optical Heritage Museum 1970s photo of AO monoplex eyes being painted by Roland Proulx
Artificial Eye Clinic - History of Artificial Eyes
New August 15, 2012

Stephen Haddad and his recollections and involvement with AO Monoplex Eye - 

Recollection about a Monoplex eye patient

Click Here for AO Recollections

AO "In Memory of Page"- Honoring Employees who are deceased

2009 info on "AO" Monoplex eye;

Monoplex Eye Prosthetics LLC
54 Main St # 4
Sturbridge, MA 01566
(508) 347-3818

Dick Whitney Aug 15, 2012

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