Prosthetic Eye Care

 

Getting Used to the Prosthesis

Most people get used to wearing the artificial eye within a few hours. In a few days, they are not even aware of its physical presence. In some cases, patients who lack tears to lubricate the eye will need some type of artificial lubricant like Vitamin E Oil with Aloe Vera or an ocular ointment such as DURATEARS™ or LACRALUBE™.

 

To Remove the Prosthesis from the Eye Socket

1. Wash and rinse hands thoroughly. (30 seconds)

2. Face mirror (if this is over a lavatory, place a towel over all hard surfaces and cover the sink drain) Tilt the head slightly downward while looking at the artificial eye in the mirror, this rotates the prosthesis into a favorable position for removal. Hold one hand, palm upward and heel against the mouth, below the eye socket to catch the prosthesis if it comes out suddenly.

3. Place the forefinger of the other hand against the middle of the lower lid, close to the eyelashes and parallel to them. Press the lower lid tissue backward until the lid margin goes under the lower edge of the artificial eye. At the same time, pull the finger sideways toward the cheekbone to stretch the lid margin under the bottom edge of the prosthesis, exposing it to view. The effect will be like an edge of a button hole.

4. If the artificial eye does not slide out of the socket by itself the cupped hand may be taken away from the cheek and its forefinger and thumb used to grasp the prosthesis and rock and pull gently from under the lid. After removal, the eye should be rinsed or washed, being careful not to drop it down any open drain.
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Cleaning the Eye

Never wash or dry the eye with any kind of cloth because it will slowly wear away the polished surface, creating a dull, non-life like appearance.

1. With the prosthesis already out of the socket, as described earlier, make your hands soapy with mild hand soap such as Ivory or Palmolive and pick up the eye carefully because it will be slippery. Rub it vigorously with pressure from the tips of your soapy fingers. The water used can be as hot as the hands can stand - it could be hotter without harming the eye.

2. Rinse all soap from the eye and hands. Pat the surface with a soft facial tissue and check the surface to be sure there is not a thin film of material still present. If there is, the surface of the eye will appear dull and you must repeat the cleaning process, or schedule a polish appointment.

3. If a film remains, make a solution of NON-FLAVORED POLIDENT POWDER™ (a denture cleaner). Mix it the same strength as for dentures and soak the eye in it for 30 minutes. Rinse under a good flow of warm water while rubbing the entire surface with your fingers to insure flushing away any last remnants of material or soap.

Be sure to wash the eye thoroughly with soap and water before the NON-FLAVORED POLIDENT™ soak to remove all oils in advance.

4. Put the rinsed prosthesis back in the eye socket wet.

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Replacing the Prosthesis in the Eye Socket

1. Wash hands. Face a mirror. If it is above a lavatory or other hard surface, drape a towel over the surface so that, if the prosthesis is accidentally dropped, it is not likely to be damaged.

2. Hold the artificial eye by one hand in such a manner that the upper edge is upward and the back of the eye is toward the empty socket. One way to hold it is between the thumb and second finger with the forefinger against the front of the cornea (over the pupil).

3. Lift the upper lid with a finger or thumb of the free hand and keep the socket widely exposed for the next step.

4. While watching in the mirror, slide the upper edge of the prosthesis (two red dots) up under the upper lid. Gradually, work it higher under the lid until most of the pupil and iris are hidden. Do not let it slide downward again until after the next step.

5. Release only the upper lid and bring the finger which is holding it, around to the front of the prosthesis to press it backward and keep it under the upper lid. Release the prosthesis from the grip of the finger and thumb of the other hand and bring the latter down to roll the lower lid margin out from under the bottom edge of the eye.

6. When the lower lid is definitely out in front of the prosthesis, move it around until it seems that the artificial eye is seated in its proper place. Take both hands away from the eye slowly, being ready to catch the prosthesis if it has not been correctly placed and falls out. (Falling onto coarse, sharp or hard surfaces can chip or scratch the plastic eye.)

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Storing the Eye

If the prosthesis must be left out of the eye socket overnight or longer for any reason, store it in water to which a bit of salt (1/4 teaspoon to a cup of water) has been added. The eye could be stored in any good contact lens soaking solution. If the plastic eye is allowed to dry out, the layers might separate at the painted surface. Keeping it wet prevents this.

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Polishing the Eye

We recommend that the prosthesis be polished at yearly intervals. This also affords the opportunity to check the eye socket and judge whether it is still fitting the tissue of the socket properly.

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To Further Help Your Appearance

Buy Glasses: We will recommend that you wear a pair of attractive protective glasses. These will distract from any asymmetries which we could not correct. Also, we may recommend cosmetic optics for the lens over the artificial eye.

Have Confidence : Try to avoid body movements and head positioning which will indicate to an observer that you are trying to hide something. Otherwise you most certainly will not hide it. Be as relaxed as possible and try to forget about having an artificial eye.

Watch your Tilting: Avoid tilting your head downward and at the same time looking up from under your eyebrows. Almost no artificial eye will move upward with its companion "good eye." With your head tilted downward your prosthesis will be looking at the floor while the companion eye looks forward.

Turn to the Left AND the Right: If your artificial eye will not move far to the sides, you should develop a firm habit of turning your head into the desired direction of gaze rather than just the eyes.

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