In this episode, I speak with Janet Chao, an ocularist and anaplastologist with a private practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Anaplastologists provide custom, non-weight-bearing prostheses for patients who have suffered loss of anatomy due to injury, disease, or congenital origin, and ocularists deal specifically with the fitting and fabrication of artificial eyes. In college, Janet majored in bioengineering and minored in chemistry, but struggled to see where these would take her professionally, and so began to rethink the possibility of including her passion for arts and crafts into her work. This led her to obtain a certificate in science illustration and do a series of internships before enrolling in the Master of Science program in Biomedical Visualization at the University of Illinois, Chicago. After graduating, she completed a 5 year apprenticeship before becoming board certified in both ocularistry and anaplastology, and going into business for herself. We’ll talk about all these experiences and of course find out about what her job is like.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
International Anaplastology Association (IAA)
American Society of Ocularists (ASO)
Please note that although contents of the interview are accurate at the time of the recording, educational pathways in ocularistry and anaplastology are constantly evolving. In fact, formal education opportunities in the field of clinical anaplastology may soon be available, for example at Johns Hopkins University