What it's Like to Have One Eye

When I was two years old, I lost my left eye to retinoblastoma, or eye cancer. I now wear a prosthetic eye. Since this happened so long ago, having one eye doesn't bother me so much, because I don’t remember what it was like to have two eyes. However, there are a few frustrating things that come with missing an eye.

1. Having a Blind Side

This is mostly frustrating because I hate the idea of people thinking that I am ignoring them, even though I just can’t see them. When the attendance sheet goes around in class, I always watch carefully to make sure I know when it will get to me (especially if I know it will be coming from the person sitting to my left). Usually, if I am not paying attention, he or she has to say something to me or put the attendance sheet right in front of me for me to see it. I also make sure to tell new friends that I sit next to in class that I am blind on my left side; because what if the teacher says something funny and they look at me and smile, and I’m still just staring straight up at the teacher? I never want anyone to think that I would just blatantly ignore them like that. Recently, I walked right past my friend at school without noticing she was there, and she said she was a little offended until she remembered that she was on my left side. I’m glad that she was understanding, but I’m always worried that people who don’t know about my fake eye think that I’m just being rude.

2. Finding a Way to Tell New People About It

I don’t mind telling people that I have a fake eye, but it’s actually pretty hard to just slip it into a conversation. Usually, I want them to know because I don’t want them to think I just have a lazy eye. That’s usually what strangers think, since my fake eye doesn't move near as much as my real eye. I also prefer to try to reveal that detail about myself to people right off the bat, because sometimes months will pass before I am able to work it into a conversation, and they are usually really confused when they finally find out.

3. Posing in Pictures

I have to be careful about the way I look at the camera, or it will look like my eyes are looking in two different directions. I have to avoid poses like looking to the side while facing the camera, or looking at the camera while facing the side. It’s actually a really big nuisance.


Common Questions I'm Asked About My Fake Eye:

  • Can you take it out?

Yes, it’s actually pretty easy. I just pull my bottom eyelid down and slip it out.

  • Does it just look like a ball when you take it out?

It actually looks like half of one, kind of like a large contact. When fake eyes are made, the ocularist takes a mold of the inside of the eye socket and that is where that shape comes from.

  • Does it feel weird?

I usually don’t even notice my fake eye when I am wearing it because it feels completely normal. It actually only feels weird when I take it out. When I take it out, there is no longer anything holding my eyelid up, so the eyelid just droops down.

  • How do you wash it?

I just use dish soap and water, but then I will put a silicone lubricant specifically made for prosthetic eyes on it so that it doesn't feel too dry when I put it back in.

  • Can you see out of it?

This question makes me laugh every time, but I don’t mind answering it. My eye is made out of plastic, so, unfortunately I can’t see out of it.

Although having a fake eye is something I will always be a little insecure about, I don’t let it bother me too much. I think it’s best to try to make light of the things we can’t change about ourselves. In fact, my favorite thing about having a fake eye is making jokes about it. I am someone who loves to joke around all the time, so being able to use my difference as an opportunity to make my friends laugh makes having one eye not so bad. Your differences make you who you are, and who you are is never a bad thing.