When an eye is lost due to disease or injury, an artificial eye (prosthesis) can be fitted in its place. The prosthetic eye cannot see, but can give a natural appearance to the patient. A customised prosthesis is manufactured for the patient, taking measurements from his socket, and matching the colouring exactly. So a customised prosthesis fits well, is comfortable, and looks very similar to the natural eye. Ocularistry is the art and science of manufacturing such an eye.
The oculoplastic surgeon first assesses the damaged eye or socket. In some cases, prior surgery is required to make adequate space for the prosthesis to be fitted. In other cases, it can be fitted directly.
The movement and eyelid closure depends on the pre-existing condition of the eye socket. Usually the oculoplastic surgeon will be able tell by examining you. Most patients gain conversational movement of the eye, though the prosthesis may not move into the furthest corners.
If an implant is placed deep in the socket during surgical correction, that is permanent. The prosthesis has to be removed and cleaned once in one or two weeks. This is a very simple procedure, and done very easily by the patent.
Yes, a child can be fitted with a prosthesis; in fact, it is recommended to stimulate the growth of the socket. It is very safe, and will not damage the other eye. A patient can do all usual activities except swimming. For a child, the prosthesis will need to be changed as the child grows.
The prosthesis is to cleaned periodically. Once a year, come for a check-up to your oculoplastic surgeon and ocularist. The socket will be examined to make sure it is healthy, and the prosthesis will be polished. If well maintained, the same prosthesis can be used many years. A protective glass of unbreakable fibre is recommended to be used – this is for the protection of the good eye.