Phillip Danz's grandfather, Gottlieb T. Danz, Sr. and Gottlieb T. Danz, Jr. established businesses in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1931. They were glass eye-makers, trained in Lauscha, Germany, the birthplace of the invention of special techniques in the fabrication and fitting of glass artificial eyes (circa early 1830s). Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, they traveled throughout the west coast, blowing custom glass eyes for individual patients.
The Advent of the Acrylic (Plastic) Prosthesis
During WW II, it became difficult to obtain the special glass manufactured in Germany that was used in the process of hand-blowing glass artificial eyes. During the same time, a new material was being developed, specifically the methyl methacrylate polymer (plastic) and was being used in dentistry in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Gottlieb T. Danz Jr, and his wife Ursula Danz, in collaboration with a dental technician, Karl Rohrer, developed a method of manufacture of acrylic plastic (PMMA) prosthetic eyes (circa 1942). In the ensuing 20 years, the acrylic artificial eye became the material of choice for most patients in the United States. Two advantages of the plastic prosthesis over the glass is that they do not shatter when dropped and do not etch as readily as the glass and therefore could be worn longer.
Phillip Danz, after obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Bacteriology from the University of California at Berkeley, decided to train in ocularistry with his father, Gottlieb Danz Jr. and entered the business full time in 1961.
When Phillip Danz first started in the business, the main office was in San Francisco and Phil traveled to various cities, Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, and Los Angeles.
Time went by and, in 1975, he made San Jose his main office and along with his wife, Katharine, traveled to Oakland, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.
With the tremendous population growth of the bay area and Los Angeles area, each office became busier and busier. Over time and ending, in 1992, Phillip Danz decided to sell his offices to other ocularists and scaled down to one office and laboratory in the Sacramento area.
In 2003, Eric Lindsey began to train with Phillip Danz. When Eric Lindsey received his certification in 2008, Phillip Danz sold him this office and began his retirement.
With a fine arts background, Eric Lindsey continues to improve upon the painting and sculpting methods of ocular prostheses.
In 2011, Janet Chao joined the practice to study under Eric Lindsey.
Into the Future
We are looking for ways to merge traditional methods with digital technology in order to achieve higher precision in a shorter amount of time. With the development of new techniques in the fitting and fabrication of ocular prosthetics and with the new and better surgical techniques and materials used by oculo-plastic surgeons (a relatively new sub-specialty in ophthalmology), we look forward to many more years of serving the patient with an ever increasing quality of our product.