Prosthetic Contact Lenses [Part 1]

I am publishing this article to try and let others know what is available. I don’t like to think that there are people like me who cannot find this information from practitioners in their country.

I was born with a squint in my right eye.

When I was three my brother, who was nine, made a bow and arrow. He shot it at me and it went into my right eye. We lived in a village where there was only a maternity hospital so I went to a hospital 120 miles away by taxi. Considering that was decades ago, they did quite a good job patching up the eye.   However, it is clear from the image below that it was very disfiguring, especially since my eyes are such a light colour – and the shot-at eye was the one that ‘wandered.’

This disfigurement caused me to develop a version of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) when I became a teenager. I avoided social situations and had a ludicrously long fringe (‘pony’).  I know that BDD normally occurs in people who imagine they have a defect but my reaction to an actual defect was extreme and in line with BDD behaviour.

Because my eyes are such a light colour, I know from photos exactly how I looked.

This was not helped by members of my own family who told me I was not pretty and should not wear makeup or feminine clothes. I grew up with lots of verbal and mental abuse but let’s not get sidetracked right now.

I also felt bad because I knew that millions of people have much worse facial disfigurements. But people everywhere communicate with their eyes and it is not the same if you have an ugly nose, stick-out ears, bad teeth or skin, etc, but the eyes are different. People do find bung eyes very disconcerting.

I would often go to my optician and ask about any breakthroughs for people with eyes like mine but was offered nothing as of 2005.

You might be thinking, why did I not just wear fashion lenses? Good question, but I am not sure such things were available at that point but they do not have a pupil so the wearer can still see out!

In 2006 I went to live in the Maldives where, strangely, I discovered that it was possible to get custom-made prosthetic lenses:

This man has very light-coloured eyes and I think the effect is fantastic.

I was amazed that this was not known about by my local eye people.

I ordered a lens and it came completely painted over. As I still had a lot of sight in the right eye, the pupil would try and expand thinking it was night-time whilst my left eye would just stay the same. The resulting sensation was untenable.

The company then made a lens with the pupil part left clear:

This is quite a good result except that the right eye pupil is kind-of see-through. Somewhat oddly, the company was never able to reproduce a lens coloured as seen above left again.

The company then sent me more painted lenses, including a pupil, which bore less and less resemblance to my eye colour with each try:


The company I was talking to is Cantor & Nissel and before I go any further, let me make it very clear that this is not a diatribe against them and the final, final result (in part 2) really was marvellous.

Who would walk around with these last three lenses – especially the last one?  It might be okay if you are Marilyn Manson.  How could anyone from the lens company think that any of these lenses matched me?

Then I suggested getting a lens with just a black pupil. This is what the company sent me:

At least now I had two pupils but the painted one was too big. The company said it had to be that size to blot out the real pupil which would naturally enlarge thinking it was night-time! From the photo above it is clear that the pupil did not enlarge. I also said to the company that if the painted pupil was normal/average size, it would have even less of an effect on the real, distorted pupil.

This large pupil was 5mm so the company, and at my request, they then made one at 3.5 mm.  Below we can see the two eyes are now quite alike as the pupils are the same size:

Here the real pupil is literally in the background and attention is now drawn to the painted right pupil (looking left at this photo).

The painted pupil is a bit blacker because it is on the front of the eye, whereas a real pupil is at the back of the eye.  But, the vast majority of the time, I have two centred pupils about the same size and people naturally focus on my ‘front’ rather than ‘back’ pupil. My life changed from that day, which is not an exaggeration.

There is a further great development brought to me by Cantor & Nissel, which is the subject of Part 2 (coming soon).

Here are some links that are very helpful if you would like to learn more about prosthetic lenses:


Hardline Muslims ‘threaten tourism in the Maldives’ [by Oliver Smith, The Telegraph]

Reblogged via:

This post is six years old but it is indicative of the changes that occurred in Maldives from early 2012 when Mohamed Nasheed, Maldives first democratically-elected president, was forced out of office.


Dear Literary Agent [a Query Letter]

 Photo by Ibrahim Asad on

Dear Literary Agent

I am seeking representation for My Muslims: Killing It in Maldives Insha’Allah, a memoir of 85,000 words. The Maldives: where girls are flogged and jailed for being sexually abused if they cannot dig up four witnesses. On the bright side, dogs are banned so the daily road-sweeping ladies never have to wrangle dog-shit.


Mental Abuse

Maldives, July 2017

The mother was in a sanatorium with TB when Jane was born, which meant that she immediately went to live with her auntie Bev. At the same time the father was laid out in another hospital with his back so Jane’s two brothers, William and James, aged five and six, went to stay with out-of-town relatives for 18 months.

                                                                          When Jane was a baby, she was nick-named ‘The Worried Accountant’ due to my perpetual frown, perhaps foreseeing the many disasters that would mount up over the coming decades. For as long as Jane could remember, her mother seemed to not care about her. What was the reason? Jane had gone missing overnight when she was two. She was hiding as she was scared of her mother. Her father’s family wondered if “the mother was behind it.”

When they were alone in the house, the mother would scream and threaten to murder Jane who would be left cowering on the kitchen floor by the door. The mother had an ally in William, who would say things like, “Don’t walk so close to me. People might think we are together.”

The mother had been beautiful when young, with dark blue eyes and black hair and William took after the mother looks-wise; and in the treatment of his sister. He would shout at Jane and accuse her of things she had not done. She was scared of the two of them.

At age three, James shot an arrow into her eye and had to go to a hospital a long way from home for a week. When the family came to collect her, Jane did not want to leave. She performed like someone possessed at the hospital and at the tearooms later on.

She did not want to go home; she had been happy in the hospital, away from her family. Jane’s second teeth grew in very cramped as her jaw was too small. The teeth became cracked and yellow. So not only did she not want to look at people, she did not want to smile either.

Back at the loveliest pool in the world (November 2014) Male Maldives; I first came here April 2006; that photo is on this site somewhere; I was a lot thinner then.

Jane withdrew more and more as the years went by. She lost touch with school-friends and would spend all weekend sitting on her bed looking out the window, or she might sit on the porch just watching the traffic – for hours.

At eighteen, she met a boy (Ian) she liked at a dance. It was dark there. They would meet every Saturday night and he would take her home in his car. She would only meet him in the dark because of her appearance.  When he broke it off because of her crazy notions, Jane could not accept it.  She did not realise it then, but she had what came to be known as  “separation issues.”

It was because, having had someone for the first time, she was unable to let go and move on. Jane took to following him around town, or riding past his house on her scooter. Often she would wait outside his work, trying to catch him at lunchtime or after work.

One day that actually had lunch in a pub and it made Jane feel wonderful but she tried to hide her eye behind a long fringe and not smile too much because of the dreadful teeth. When they were leaving, Ian said he had to go to the toilet. Jane waited and waited but he never came back. He had sneaked out another door.  Some time later Ian said he would talk to her, but she had to give him $5 first, so she did. Now Jane was exhibiting another illness called Love Obsession.

Maldives Resort November 2014

On another occasion she was working on the sweets counter in a picture theatre. Ian came in with a friend of his and said terrible things to her: “You have nothing. I would kill myself if I were you.” She had to keep working even though she wanted to disappear and her head was all woozy.  Jane thought she was too blame for receiving all these ghastly remarks because she had been brought up with verbal and mental abuse. She was mentally ill by now and had no ability to counter such cruelty.