Our History

Our History

Our business began with three generations from the Danz family, accomplished glass eye makers from Germany who brought the techniques to America. Our current practice preserves traditional craftsmanship while striving for technological advancement.

The Beginning

Gottlieb T. Danz, Sr. and Gottlieb T. Danz, Jr. established ocularistry practices in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1931. They were glass eye-makers trained in Lauscha, Germany, the birthplace of the techniques for fitting and fabricating modern glass eyes (circa early 1830s). Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, they traveled throughout the west coast, blowing custom glass eyes for individual patients.

History, Science and Art of Ocular Prosthetics

The Advent of the Acrylic Prosthesis

During WWII, it became difficult to obtain the special glass manufactured in Germany that was used in the process of hand-blowing artificial glass eyes. Around the same time, a material called methyl methacrylate was being developed. Dentists began using this material 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 manufacturing of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA, or acrylic) prosthetic eyes (circa 1942). In the next 20 years, acrylic became the material of choice for most ocular patients in the United States. Two advantages of the acrylic prosthesis over glass eyes are that they do not shatter when dropped and they are compatible with the impression fitting process, which creates a perfect fit to the socket space.

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 he traveled to other offices in Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, and Los Angeles.

Time went by and in 1975 he made San Jose his main office. Together with his wife Katharine, who is also an ocularist, they continued to travel to the other offices.

With the tremendous population growth of the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, each office became busier. In 1992, Phillip Danz decided to sell his offices to other ocularists and scaled down to the Sacramento location, Phillip A. Danz & Associates.

Recent History

In 2003, Eric Lindsey began his training with Phillip Danz in Sacramento. When Eric received his board certification in 2008, Phillip Danz sold him the office and began his retirement.

With a fine arts background, Eric continues to improve upon the painting and sculpting methods of ocular prostheses. Eric is the head ocularist of the Sacramento location, serving patients who have been with us for up to fifty years. In 2010, Eric opened a practice in Las Vegas called Ocular Artists and began traveling there monthly.

In 2011, Janet Chao joined the Sacramento office for a five-year apprenticeship in ocularistry. With prior education in anaplastology, Janet also began to see patients who needed facial prostheses. In 2016 she obtained board certifications in both ocularistry and anaplastology and relocated to Ocular Artists. She has since purchased Ocular Artists under the new name Prosthetics Advancement Lab.

In 2015 Eric Lindsey officially changed the name of the Sacramento office to Prosthetic Artists. Eric now also sees patients in Hawaii twice a year.

Eric now focuses his time on the Sacramewnto office.

Into the Future

Our ocularists stay current with continuing education provided through the American Society of Ocularists and International Anaplastology Association. While we preserve the craftsmanship of this multi-generational family business, we strive for improvements with new materials and techniques. Additionally, we have an established digital work flow for some facial prostheses that provide unmatched results. We look forward to many more years of serving our patients with an increasing quality of our products.