emotionally taxing sometimes," admitted Erik, "But it's a greatly gratifying
job." When Christine Campbell came to San Diego, she first saw Arthur Perry of
La Jolla, an ocular plastic surgeon who invented revolutionary implants made
from coral, which simulates bone.
the body's acceptance of it (coral), tissue and muscle grow around and through
it, making it stable," said Gordon Kolberg. " Then we can attach an artificial
eye to that implant with a peg. Using the peg we've developed, the artificial
eye can actually move to look realistic."
worked closely with Kolberg in refining artificial eyes to fit the implants
better. After losing an eye, an implant is placed in the socket, usually by an
ocular plastic surgeon. It takes several months to heal, and for tissue to take
root and grow through the implant enough so that Kolberg's can begin working on
fitting an artificial eye.
coral implant invention inspired Kolberg. He worked on perfecting a system that
would allow the lightweight plastic artificial eyes to attach to the implant.
The implant "only works well if you have the ocularist that can make it look
good and move well," Perry said. "Gordon is pretty much a genius in mechanical
things, and a very good artist. Erik's work is exceptional."
He uses a
plastic ball peg, which gives the prosthesis more natural movement, a more
"real" look. The results have given both Perry and Kolberg worldwide
recognition. "We're lucky we can do what we do," said Perry. "By the grace of
God, we could be in our patients' shoes."
are referred to the Kolberg’s by ophthalmologists and ocular plastic surgeons.
From the moment a patient walks in the office door of Kolberg Ocular Products
Inc., they are made as comfortable as possible. "My dad always said to put
yourself in the patient's place, to sit on the other side of the table," said
effort," said Gordon Kolberg. "Russ, our office manager, reads a patient well
and can usually tell us what kind of emotional state he or she is in, how
traumatic the situation is, or how sensitive he or she is to being there." They
take his evaluation into account every time they see a new patient.
Kolberg’s start by taking an impression of the socket in order to get an exact
mold of it. The mold goes through several processes, including heating,
kneading, honing, curing, shaping and fitting. A groove is made in the back of
the eye, where the peg will slip into eventually, to allow it to attach to the
coral implant. When the eye mold is produced in acrylic, Erik goes through four
basic stages of painting it. The patient is Erik's live model. He hones in on
the details of the good eye. Sitting across from him at a custom table that
houses a fan to absorb paint fumes, it takes between three and four sessions --
at two or three hours each time -- to complete the process.
or paint is used for veins of the eyeball. To create the fine lines and depth of
color that determine individual eye colors, Erik uses Windsor Newton oils and dry earth
powder pigments, and mixes oils with clear liquid plastic for sclera tinting.
they moved to their present location off Miramar Road in 1985 was the direction
the building faced. Like true artists, they knew they needed to use the best
possible north facing light to help with matching the right colors to patients'
natural eye color. Paintings are scheduled for only between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.,
for the best results. Coats and coats of clear paint are followed by countless
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