Eye swapping is a modification of removing the sleep eyes of a doll and placing new eyes into the sockets.
Reasons for Eye Swapping
Like rewigging, the reasons for eye swaps vary.
If a doll has silver eye and is sent into the AG Hospital, it is possible that the entire head will be swapped out for another head; this can disturb a collector who has a Pre-Mattel doll. Even if the head is not swapped, the eyes will no longer have the soft matching lashes.
If eyes are rusted or damaged, an eyeswap can replace the eyes without having to swap the entire head.
Some collectors want unique eye color/face mold combinations that have not been or are no longer done by American Girl. For example, as of right now only JLY #26 has a unique brown-amber shade, and Molly and Ruthie are now the only dolls with grey eyes available.
The size of the American Girl eyes are uniquely sized and so the only way to obtain new eyes is to take them from another American Girl doll.
How to Eye Swap
The original eyes must be removed from both the donor head and the receiver. This is generally done by softening the vinyl around the eyes with a heat source such as a blow dryer. Once the eyes are out, the new ones can be placed in. It is important to put the eyes in weighted so that the eyes will still close properly. Also, if eyes are being swapped from a doll with a darker or lighter skin tone, the skin tone on the eyeball may need to be painted to create a match.
The TLC Doll Hospital will swap eyes for a fee, but a person must send in at least two heads to be swapped; they will not place eyes into an empty head.