The Center for Ocular Prosthetics, LLC has helped so many people over numberous years. Our patients and their loved ones speak for the quality of our work, and the care and attention they receive. Here are just some of these personal notes, stories and kind words:
"Just a note to thank you for the wonderful job you did on Frank's ocular prosthesis. Not only did you do a beautiful job, but you made what could have been an anxiety-filled experience very pleasant and relaxed. We feel very lucky to have been referred to you. You truly have a gift"
Frank & Rhonda
"(Paul) is doing VERY well with his eye. Hasn't referred to it as his 'Walt' or 'fake' eye. Says the discomfort is zero as compared to his previous one... and less to zero tearing. Thanks"
"Thank-you for the superb work on my eye. It definitely has a twinkle and aliveness. My dolphin is perfectly lovely. I appreciate your magnificent ability, and enjoyed so much spending quality time with you. My eye is a true work of art!"
"I just wanted to thank you for being so kind and considerate towards me, your patent. My new eye is wonderful and has greatly increased my confidence. I thank God for you and the work that you do."
"Every time I look in the mirror, I silently say thank you - you're just the best and I love my eye!! P.S. I even got a date!"
"Getting my prosthesis was a very pleasant experience. Thanks for the safe and excellent workmanship".
"Putting aside the stressful sad experience of John having to have his left eye extracted, the next procedure of having a prosthesis skillfully made, was a beautiful and interesting time in both of our lives. We thank you so much for your expertise, talent and for caring."
"Just a note to let you know Bob is doing extremely well with his prosthesis. It is so comfortable he forgets he has it in. We are so pleased with the results. You and your staff made the entire experience pleasurable and we expected it to be a somewhat grueling and unpleasant experience, we must admit. Thanks for being such nice people."
Bob & Lee
"Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!! You really made life worthwhile again. Everyone thinks it's truly beautiful and my son who lives here was delighted. Said I'm 'pretty' again and that means so very much. I can't wait for my four other sons to see me. You are a blessing to all who come your way."
"I'm so grateful to you for the improved quality of life that has resulted from removing a very sad sick eye and having the gift of your skills in its place."
"Thank you for sharing with me your artistic skills and your positive attitude. Since my accident and the injury to my left eye on October 10th I have been very depressed about the loss of my eye and you have given me encouragement for better days ahead. I have greatly appreciated your kindly manner when working with me. "
"Just a note to thank you for getting Michael out and on our way home early. He is doing fine with his new eye and every one who sees him says it looks great."
Michael & Betty
"It's really wonderful what you do ... everyone is in disbelief if they are told what happened. They cannot believe it's a prosthesis. What a wonderful gift you are involved in for so many people."
"How does on say thank you when 'thank-you' doesn't sound like enough? Your gift of the acrylic eye prosthesis to Victoria was so generous that I find it difficult to find the words to express our appreciation. The full impact of your gift probably will not be recognized by Victoria for many years. Maybe she never will be aware of so much generosity but we all know and we are grateful for the 'kind hearts and golden hands' in this world. I am overwhelmed and I must say simply that you have our heartfelt thanks."
Margaret & Steve
"We are so happy with the results of this procedure and how it has booted (Cory's) morale... we want to thank you for the great change you have made in Cory's looks. It truly is amazing. He is so pleased as are all of his family."
"Thank-you for a beautiful job on Frank's eye. He says it is comfortable and it's a pleasure to 'look at him' for me, and others."
Frank & Winifred
"Thank-you again for your help with Juan. I truly appreciate your doing an outstanding job in creating the prosthesis for him."
Community Life, Tuesday, July 4, 2000
Precious Gift by Rebecca Merritt
Return to top
Most often, people never know the impact they've made on the lives of others, but I wanted you to know how visiting your office made a difference to my mother, Barbara, my sister, and me.
Because my mother was ashamed of having lost an eye, she never told any of her children about it. We each found out in different ways, and most of the discoveries fall into the melodramatic category. Once we did find out, we were instructed never to tell anyone, and especially not to ever look at her prosthesis. And as is often the case, we children assumed the shame my mother felt over her situation.
And that's how it went, even after we entered adulthood. Every 10 years or so, Mom would mention she needed a new eye or one of us would suggest that she might want one. And she'd shuttle off to have a new eye made. We'd spend an appropriate 10, maybe even 15, seconds admiring her new acquisition, and that would be that until the next 10 years rolled around.
You, however, changed all that. Despite my best efforts to remain in the waiting room, you invited me back to participate in the process. (What could I do since my mother and sister were already there?) You answered all our questions, even to the point of taking my mother's new prosthesis from its socket and placing it next to the former one for comparison and explanation. Please know that was the first time either my sister or I had ever seen her without her prosthesis in place. When you reached up to remove her prosthesis, my sister and I exchanged quick and horrified "I can't believe this is happening" glances. But you directed the proceedings so confidently and authoritatively that we had no other choice but to believe that this was how all people spent their Thursday afternoons.
The way you treated my mother, the rose you painted on the new prosthesis, and the champagne were all endearing, humanistic touches that transformed the "glass eye" into a piece of jewelry or accessory to celebrate my mother's beauty. On the way home, the three of us discussed the process, what a caring individual you are, and how the entire experience was the most positive one she has ever had.
We still don't know the story of how she actually lost her eye. She has several versions of the story that don't really jibe, but it probably doesn't matter. Better to focus on the present, her greater confidence in her appearance, and the fact that she's formed a relationship with an ocularist that she - and her family - trust. For this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
"On behalf of Erik, his family, friends, teachers and all those touched by his warm smile, and now, thanks to your handiwork, his beautiful eyes, we would like to thank you for your kindness in making Erik's new prosthetic eye a reality. This project has involved the dedication, generosity and compassion of many people.
In spite of the language barrier, your warmth and caring attitude toward Erik made him feel that everything would turn out well; the smile on his face and his mother's phone call thanking me for such a beautiful eye upon his return home were testimonies to your art.
Thanks to this experience, the prospect of getting his next prosthetic as he grows in the years ahead is not a frightening one to Erik, and he will never forget your gentle and caring help in creating this one."
Dave is doing so well with his ocular shell. He has learned quickly how to put it in and take it out, and was delighted to find that it serves him very well when he is riding his bike. His blind eye actually seems to dry out less with the shell. He continues, of course, to wear protective glasses. But this is a big deal to us, as Dave rides thousands of miles each year.
If anything, the only problem he seems to be having is that he can't seem to stick to the gradual use schedule you suggested. He says his eye actually feels better with the shell in, and he's already wearing it six plus hours per day. If this is a bad thing you had better call us.
Dave says that sometimes he just totally forgets he has a prosthesis, until someone says, "Gee, you look good. What did you do, shave or something?"
I have a hard time believing how well this eyeball works! When Sam and I left your office, we went out to dinner with our son, who was down from Tacoma, so I wore it about four hours. The next day, on the drive home, about five hours.
I am now wearing it most all day, and it feels great! In fact, my eye really feels better with the shell in place. It has worked very well on the bike, also - I get less wind-induced dryness.
I feel so much better about talking with people one-to-one. I was always aware of my eye, and I am now, but with a good feeling. Like some things in life, my only regret is I didn't find out about you sooner.
Thank you so much.
I just can't figure out, though, that since it looks so good, why can't I see out of it? (ha ha).
We thought maybe you would like a copy of the "before and after" pictures I took while there. He is doing so good. We enjoyed being there with you - everyone is so friendly and helpful! What a wonderful piece of art! He is so proud of it. Looking forward to seeing you in February!
Doug and Fran
I just wanted to say I think you are a gift from God to me. You have changed the way I look and feel about myself. Thank you again.
Thank you for the reminder about my 6 week checkup. I can't possibly be there but I want you to know my new "eye" is just great. One thing in particular is that because you made the pupil larger - it-the eye itself-is so much less noticeable-I have had no problems at all so far this -once again the two words, thank you cannot express how much it means to me..Stay happy.
Return to top
"I have not had a lot of great experiences with Ocularists since I lost my eye twenty years ago. I was very bitterly disappointed when the first one, which was made by another Ocularist in the area, did not even match the color of my other eye! When I pointed it out to him, he didn't apologize or make any attempt to change it. When my husband also made mention of it, he was told, 'You're just too critical, most family members are.' I wore that eye for about five years and was always ashamed of the way it looked.
The second and third eyes were made by the same people, much to my chagrin. This was not my choice. It was the insurance company's. I could not afford the cost of the eye out of my own pocket, so had to rely on the insurance to pick it up. Again it was not great, a bit better on the color matching, but not a lot of extra effort made to fit to the socket which is a big problem for me. I accepted it , but not happily. I never felt like anyone truly cared how it looked, and since they are in the business of making others believe that your eye is not plastic, they should have.
This year, I was finally able to choose someone else. My old Primary Care Doctor had left along with her whole medical group. I had heard of you, so decided to ally myself with a new doctor who is contracted through the insurance company. I even asked if they refer to you when I called to find out if my doctor was accepting new patients. I was very pleased when I got that referral from my doctor!
We have what I feel to be a great rapport. I felt like you really care about your work and are always striving to do the best job possible. It is particularly gratifying that you attempted to assist with the socket problems that I have had for my entire life. The other provider didn't do much about it and just kept making heavier prostheses. You took the time to try something a little different. I really appreciated that.
When the prosthesis was finished, I was delighted to find the match to be the best I have ever had! The fit is quite good, and I am extremely pleased with the whole experience. What a difference making the change to another provider has made!
I will certainly be back when I need a new eye. Also, I would not hesitate to recommend my friends or family come to you if they are in need of this service. It is hard for most people to understand how much this can impact your life, but it truly does. For me, it has made a huge difference.
I will certainly lobby with my insurance company to allow more diversity in ancillary providers because of this experience. I realize they treat eyes as a piece of medical equipment, but this piece sits in your face for the whole world to see. It then becomes a very personal and emotional issue. When the insurance companies finally understand that sometimes how a patient feels about the product is more important than the cost, it will be a great victory for us all!
Thanks again, Fred, for the fine job you did for me, and for everyone else that you have helped!"
"'I am so thankful to God,' the 24-year-old native of Mexico said through an interpreter. After living most of his life with a disfigured eye, Izquierdo finally feels good about himself. 'I'm so happy now,' said Izquierdo... As he talks, looking his guests straight in the eye, it is hard to tell that one of his deep brown eye is artificial.
Izquierdo used to be angry about his disfiguring eye injury and ashamed by the way he looked. He couldn't keep a job for more than a few months. 'He was kind of resentful and defensive. He didn't look at anyone,' said Heidi Searle, who... teaches for the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, became Izquierdo's interpreter and helped him find medical care. 'I just knew things could be better for him,' she said.
Izquierdo's injury occurred when he was just 9 years old...He evidently had some dirt kicked in his eye while playing on the playground. His eye was irritated. He was given a home remedy.
The treatment, unfortunately, caused him to lose sight in that eye. He developed glaucoma, which damaged his optic nerves....'It turned the entire front of his eye white,' said Dr. Scott, a doctor who cared for Izquierdo....'It was a very caustic agent they poured in his eye to try to help,' Dr. Stevens said.
The injury hurt his self-esteem...He was teased a lot. People stared at him. He has three young children back in Mexico, and they would poke at the injured eye and ask why there was nothing there.
It got so bad that he left his wife and children in Mexico and moved to Madras to live with his sisters, in hopes of getting treatment in the United States. He never dreamed, though, that he would be given a new eye.
Izquierdo rejected the (corneal) transplant...Stevens removed the eye in hopes of getting Izquierdo a prosthesis.
Stevens arranged for Fredric Harwin of the Center for Ocular prosthetics to do the procedure. Harwin agreed to reduce his fees for this case.
Harwin carefully painted the prosthetic to match Izquierdo's left eye. The brown pupil on the eye looks real.
Two months after receiving his new eye, Izquierdo has a new perspective on life. He is working full time at McPheeter's Turf in Culver, and he finds it easier to make friends. He gets invited to more parties, he said.
His sister, Maria joked that her brother is starting to go out a little too much now.
He enjoys his new life in Madras, but Izquierdo will return to Mexico for his family after he saves some money."