The Four Eye Care Professionals You Need to Know: Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians and Ocularists
August 20th, 2019
The integrity of the materials of a prosthetic eye made at Ocular Prosthetics, Inc. will last for at least ten years. However, most people will need a replacement at approximately 3-5 years due to the settlement of soft tissue in the eye socket. If you wear a scleral shell prosthetic eye over a residual blind eye, the need for a replacement will also depend on the future settlement of the residual blind eye.
To remove a prosthesis you should use a suction cup, available from your ocularist. To remove the prosthetic eye, squeeze the suction cup while placing the tip onto the surface of the prosthesis. Next, release the suction cup to create a vacuum. Pull down the lower eyelid to gently pull out the prosthesis with the suction cup. You may clean the prosthesis with any hard or gas permeable contact lens cleaning solution. Simply apply the cleaner to all the surfaces and rub it vigorously with your fingertips. Then rinse well with warm water. Do not clean the prosthesis with rubbing alcohol or any other chemical solvents. Never boil or heat sterilize an ocular prosthesis. More information is available on the website and at any of our office locations.
Routine removal of an prosthetic eye is not recommended unless advised by your ocularist. Typically as long as the prosthesis remains comfortable, it should not be removed regularly. It is important to minimize the frequency of removal. However, if the prosthesis accumulates residual mucous secretion deposits on its surface, please follow the recommended cleaning procedure.
Digital iris technology has been available since 1998. After extensive research and testing by ocularists nationwide, less than 1% of them choose to use this technique, because it is difficult to achieve an exact color match. Our team agrees with this research, that a hand painted iris by an experienced board certified ocularist offers a natural, soft, and lifelike appearance. This timeless art form has been perfected at our office for more than 20 years. With that in mind, we do offer a digital iris used in combination with our proprietary transparent beveled iris. This technique allows us to embellish the digital image with hand painted details, producing more depth, and the most natural artificial eye available today!
In most cases your prosthetic eye will have movement. The amount of movement your prosthetic eye will have, depends on several factors, such as your preoperative condition and postoperative recovery. The ophthalmologist constructs the eye socket with an orbital implant during surgery to transfer the most possible movement to your prosthesis. Your ocularist will also fit your prosthesis to the orbital implant to maximize the movement available.
The orbital implant is a spherical device approximately 18 – 20 mm in diameter. It is made from various materials, the two most common are porous polyethylene and hydroxyapatite. During the surgical procedure to remove an eye, the orbital implant is inserted to replace the lost volume. When a prosthetic eye is fit over the implant five to six weeks following surgery, the movement of the orbital implant is transferred to the prosthetic eye. For increased prosthetic eye movement, there is an optional motility peg attachment system.
Certain implants such as the porous hydroxyapatite implant, allow an optional titanium peg system to be utilized several months following surgery. This procedure provides a direct connection between the ocular prosthesis and the orbital implant. This connection will transfer the most natural prosthetic eye movement possible. The advantages and disadvantages of this procedure can be discussed further with your ocularist and ophthalmologist.
Surgery to remove your eye should not affect its ability to produce lubricating tears. Although, the ocular prosthesis is made of a hard, non-absorbing acrylic plastic, which doesn’t hold lubrication very easily. This combination can sometimes cause an overproduction of tears, especially in children. Tearing and mucous is also greatly affected by the environment and your health. For example a day at the beach, or an allergic reaction, may cause excess tearing due to increased socket irritation. These situations can be managed with irrigation and lubricating drops.
Not all patients will need to lubricate their prosthetic eye. However, if eyelid function is limited, the use of artificial tears or other lubricants may be needed. A number of different factors can affect a patient’s individual needs such as age, employment environment, weather conditions, and health factors. Please consult with your ocularist for more information.
It is strongly recommended that you wear a pair of glasses with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses. Even if no visual correction is required in the natural eye, glasses are an excellent means of protection in the event of a facial injury.
Wearing an prosthetic eye should not limit your involvement in most sports. However, when possible, sport specific safety glasses should be worn. This is particularly important when swimming, in which goggles should always be worn.