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Jakarta Post

Eyes that matter

Wed, February 7, 2018   /   11:11 am
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    All smiles: Falisha Ilyarsi smiles as she poses for a photo with her father, Rizwan Ilyasin. The two-year-old lost her right eye when she was two months old and her left one early this year. JP/ Ben Latuihamallo

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    The right size: Rizwan molds the eye socket of a patient. JP/ Ben Latuihamallo

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    Close inspection: Rizwan puts the final touches on an artificial eye. JP/ Ben Latuihamallo

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    Work of art: Rizwan paints an artificial ey in front of his patient. JP/ Ben Latuihamallo

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    Good fit: Rizwan matches an artificial eye to Besta's original one. JP/ Ben Latuihamallo

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    Before and after: Besta, four, was fitted with an artificial eye. JP/ Ben Latuihamallo

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    Learning from the best: Rizwan shows the certificate he obtained from Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham United Kingdom. JP/ Ben Latuihamallo

Ben Latuihamallo

Eye removal surgery happens for a number of reasons, such as accidents, birth defects or diseases. Falisha Ilyarsi, the first daughter of Rizwan Ilyasin and Desy Pujiarsi, underwent surgery to remove her right eye when she was just two months old because she suffered from retinoblastoma or eye cancer.

After the surgery, Rizwan and Desy brought their daughter to a number of doctors to implant prosthetic eyes, but none of the glass eyes fit her well as indicated by the constant build-up of dirt in her right eye. It was then that Rizwan began to learn how to make artificial eyes.

He first tried to learn from YouTube, but he was not satisfied with the information he found. He later sent emails to various ocular experts in a number of countries to tell his story. Eventually, he got a response from John PaceyLowrie, an ocular prosthesis expert with 40 years of experience.

Rizwan is now a certified maker of artificial eyes with a clinic at his house in Ciputat, South Jakarta. It takes him two to three days to make a glass eye, from molding it to painting it in front of the patient to ensure that the look and color of the artificial eye matches the original one. He also needs to import materials from Europe and Australia to achieve quality standards and prevent patients from having a negative reaction.

Rizwan and Desy hope to give free prosthesis eyes to children under 10 through a charity movement called Gerakan Seribu Mata Palsu (A Thousand Fake Eyes Movement). They are currently raising funds for the project and gathering data on children in need of prosthesis eyes.