Everything You Need to Know About Prosthetic Eyes

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Prosthetic eyes are a very common treatment option for someone who has lost an eye. People of all ages and genders are fitted for prosthetic eyes after they have an eye (or in some cases, both eyes) removed due to a traumatic eye injury, illness, or eye or facial malformation.

The purpose of a prosthetic eye is to create a balanced facial appearance and increase comfort in the eye socket where the eye is missing. People have been making and wearing prosthetic eyes for millennia. Early prosthetic eyes were made of clay that was painted and attached to a piece of cloth. Many centuries later, people began making spherical prosthetic eyes from glass. Artificial eye replacement, Today, prosthetic ic eyes are no longer glass spheres. Instead, a prosthetic eye includes a porous round implant that’s inserted into the eye socket and covered with eye tissue called conjunctiva.

A thin, curved, glossy painted acrylic disk made to look like a natural eye – complete with an iris, pupil, white, and even blood vessels – is slipped onto the implant. The disk can be removed, cleaned, and replaced when needed. If you need a prosthetic eye, you can purchase a “stock” or “ready-made” eye, which is mass-produced and doesn’t have a customized fit or color. Or you can order a “customized” eye made just for you by a prosthetic eye-maker, known as an ocularist. A custom eye will have a better fit and a more natural coloring to match your remaining eye.

Fast facts

  • You can wear your prosthetic eye during your everyday activities, including showers, and during sports like skiing and swimming.
  • You can still cry while wearing a prosthetic eye, since your eyes make tears in the eyelids.
  • Medical insurance sometimes covers the costs of prosthetic eyes.
  • After receiving a prosthetic eye, you’ll still be able to move your prosthetic in sync with your existing eye for a natural look.
  • Prosthetic eye movement
  • During surgery, your surgeon will cover your eye implant with eye tissue. To this tissue, they’ll connect your existing eye muscles to allow for natural eye movement. Your prosthetic eye should move in sync with your healthy eye. But be aware that your prosthetic eye will not move as fully as your natural eye.

How do you care for a prosthetic eye?

Maintaining your prosthetic eye involves minimal but regular care. Here are some tips:

  • Remove the acrylic part of your prosthetic eye once a month and wash it well with soap and water. Dry it before placing it back in your eye socket.
  • Sleep with your prosthesis in place unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
  • Place your prosthetic eye into your eye socket using a plunger designed for this purpose.
  • Don’t remove the acrylic prosthesis very often.
  • Use lubricating eye drops over your acrylic prosthesis.
  • Rinse any debris off your acrylic prosthesis when necessary.
  • Get your prosthesis polished by your ocularist annually.
  • Change your prosthesis once every five years, or sooner if necessary.