Elderly woman asks stunned firefighters to retrieve her eye

By Wang Ying-chieh and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Mon, Mar 03, 2014 - Page 1

Firefighters in Taoyuan County’s Bade City (八德) were baffled last week when an elderly woman stopped by the fire station for assistance, requesting that they help retrieve her eye.

Initially thinking it was a joke, the firefighters said the 88-year-old woman appeared jittery so a team accompanied her back to her home. There they found an object on the plastic awning of the elderly woman’s home.

When a firefighter retrieved the object and turned it over, he was startled to see an eye looking back at him.

After collecting himself, the firefighter asked: “Grandma, is this really your eye?”

The elderly woman replied: “Yes, it’s my artificial eye.”

She later explained that years ago, a tumor had developed in her left eye and she had surgery to remove it. Doctors extracted the eyeball and the surrounding tissue. It left a void in her left eye socket.

Afraid that her appearance would frighten people, she acquired an ocular prosthesis with attached artificial skin and tissue. Adhesive was used to hold the prosthesis in place in her left eye socket.

“A few days ago, I looked down from my home on the fourth floor and my artificial eye dropped out and landed on the awning on the building’s first floor,” she said. “I tried different ways to retrieve it, but was unable to. So I went to the fire department for assistance.”

The firefighters said they retrieved the prosthesis by climbing onto awning from the top of their fire engine.

They said they had performed many odd jobs before, “but it was the first time we picked up somebody’s eye.”

The firefighters said the artificial eye looked just like the real thing, as it was made of plastic and had the elastic feel of human skin.

The embarrassed elderly woman said she would try to better secure the artificial eye, to prevent it from dropping out and causing such a lot of trouble for the firefighters.