About Ocular Prosthesis
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An ocular prosthesis may be referred to using several other names such as prosthetic eye, artificial eye, or glass eye. It is a type of a craniofacial prosthesis that is used to replace a natural eye following an enucleation. The artificial eye is made of medical grade plastic acrylic.
Implanting an ocular prosthesis is usually recommended following the surgical removal of an eye as a result of damage or disease. An eye may be removed due to various reasons such as:
Types of Surgery
- Eye tumor
- Internal eye infection
Two main surgical procedures may be used to remove a damaged eye. The type of surgery to be employed is usually decided by the doctor, due to the kind of eye condition you have, or the degree of damage to the eye. The two types of surgery are Evisceration and Enucleation.
What Is a Prosthetic Eye Made of?
- Evisceration: involves sucking out the jelly-like inside of the eye, through an incision in the front of the eye. The procedure, however, preserves tissues in the eye socket and the outer eye.
- Enucleation: involves the cutting away and removal of the entire eye from the eye socket.
Originally, just as the name suggested, a glass eye was made of glass. However, today, a prosthetic eye is made of medical grade plastic acrylic. It takes the shape of a convex shell.
The prosthetic eye fits over a separate ocular implant. The ocular implant is a solid rounded implant that is surgically embedded permanently into the eye socket. It is often wrapped with living tissue or synthetic cushioning material before placement.Why use a prosthetic eye?
- The eyes are one of the most beautiful and outstanding features of the human face. Losing an eye to a disease or an injury adversely affects the patients. A prosthetic eye is used to improve the appearance of the affected eye socket. It is often preferred over wearing a bandage or an eye patch.
- In the case where the entire eye is removed, an ocular implant is surgically embedded to prevent tissues from growing and filling the eye socket. A prosthetic is often put onto the ocular implant.
- A damaged eye is usually removed through a surgical operation that is conducted under local anesthesia. Although not necessary, general anesthesia may also be applied. Sedative and pain relievers are also administered through the veins. They help in reducing the pain and anxiety.
- After surgery to remove the natural eye has been undertaken, an ocular implant, often in the shape of a natural eyeball is deeply and permanently embedded into the eye socket.
- For several days after the surgery, oral antibiotics are used to prevent infection. Antibiotic eyedrops may also be used. The eye socket is usually kept covered and given time to heal.
- After complete healing, an ocularist builds a custom prosthetic eye that fits over the ocular implant. An iris is carefully hand painted to match the healthy eye.
- A prosthetic eye is only for cosmetic purposes and does not restore vision to the lost eye. The prosthetic eye moves but not as briskly as the healthy eye. The pupil also neither constricts nor dilates in response to light.
- Although the surgery is a minor procedure, losing an eye, as well as adjusting to a prosthetic eye is both physically and emotionally challenging. Counseling and support are encouraged for patients adjusting to the new way of life.
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