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What you need to know about artificial eyes

What you need to know about artificial eyes

January 29, 2019


What are artificial eyes?

Also known as ocular prosthesis, artificial eyes are man made molds in the shape of eyes and look similar to concave shaped shells. These molds are made from substances such as cryolite glass or acrylic plastic so that they are unbreakable. These artificial eyes are put in place in cases where people have lost their natural eye due to conditions like evisceration, enucleation and orbital exenteration.

How does it work?

You will have an orbital implant and your artificial eye will sit on top of the orbital implant, just below your eyelids. It is attached to the implanted orbit and since the implant is attached to the ocular muscles which move the implant, when the implant moves, your artificial eyes also will move in the same direction. The degree to which your artificial eye moves depends of various factors such as the extent of treatment you have undergone previously on that eye, as well as the type of orbital implant that you have been given. But in most people, the up and down movement of their ocular prosthesis tends to be better than the sideways movement.

These ocular prosthesis are painted to a color that matches your eyes, and do not look out of place on the wearer. But it must be noted that these are put in place only in the case of those people who have already lost their eyesight due to the loss of their orbit, therefore these artificial eyes do not allow the wearer to see. These artificial eyes can easily be removed and replaced by the individual wearing them. There are commonly 2 types of artificial eyes in use today, which include:

Custom fit artificial eyes:

As the name suggests this type of artificial eyes are made as an exact fit to the wearer, using their measurements, so that it fits them perfectly. When you visit the ocularist, they will use a wax which is place in the socket of your eye in order to produce a mold with the exact measurements of your socket. Using this wax mold, your prosthesis is then made to these measurements, and then colored to match the natural color of your eyes. The final step in preparing your artificial eye is polishing it in order to make it look shiny and bright.

Stock eyes/ premade artificial eyes:

These are artificial eyes, which are ready made to a standard size and shape. In the case of children who have lost their orbit, they will receive stock eyes, because they continue to grow and so will their socket, and therefore it will change in shape and size as time goes. Therefore when they are younger it is wiser to use premade eyes, and prepare the custom made artificial eyes once they have stopped growing.

An ocularist is the person who will be responsible for preparing the artificial eye for you. They are not entirely responsible for the whole process which includes taking measurements using wax molds, color matching, polishing and readjusting for the final fit. If you are having a custom fit artificial eye made, then you may have to visit the ocularist a few times before the job is done, in order to ensure the perfect fit.

After the artificial eye is in place, you will have to visit the ocularist on a regular basis in order to have the prosthesis removed examined and cleaned, because it can have abrasions and deposits on it. You can always put forward any concerns or questions you may have regarding your artificial eye during these visits.