Losing an eye can feel devastating. Those first few weeks after surgery to remove an eye can be particularly hard emotionally. It takes courage to look in the mirror. You may be wondering how your friends will react or even find yourself avoiding social situations.
Whether you’ve lost an eye due to a traumatic situation, such as an accident or cancer, or as a result of glaucoma or another ocular disease, it’s normal to be struggling with self-confidence. It’s also common to feel a whole range of emotions — grief, fear, and anxiety to name a few.
Should I Consider a Prosthetic Eye?
While every patient experience is different, many people have found getting a prosthetic eye is a powerful step in the healing journey. A prosthetic eye can not only restore your appearance, it can also rebuild your confidence and even help your eye socket to feel more comfortable.
Understanding what to expect with a prosthetic eye can help you decide if a prosthesis is a path you want to pursue.
Will My Prosthetic Eye Look Fake or Realistic?
Some people fear their prosthetic eye will stand out and easily appear unnatural. The appearance of a prosthetic eye partially depends on if you choose an ocularist who can provide a custom eye or if you select a mass-produced stock eye.
A custom prosthesis is specifically crafted by an ocularist to fit your eye socket and match your companion eye. Fine details, such as the iris color, pupil size, and even tiny vessels on the eye will be included in a custom prosthesis to restore your natural appearance.
In addition, a custom eye is individually fitted and molded. This helps ensure greater comfort and enhances the look of the prosthetic eye as well.
Will My Prosthetic Eye Move?
During surgery, your surgeon will place an eye implant that is covered with eye tissue in your eye socket. This tissue is connected to your existing eye muscles. This allows your prosthetic eye to have some movement. While the range of motion is not as great as your natural eye, the ability to move in sync with your healthy eye helps the prosthesis to appear normal.
Sports and Other Activities
Patients with prosthetic eyes can be extremely active. Whether you’re running, cycling, playing tennis, or engaging in a team sport, you can easily leave your prosthetic eye in. You do need swim goggles for water sports, including swimming and water skiing.
When Can I Be Fitted for an Eye?
Once your surgical site has healed, typically about six weeks after surgery, you can visit an ocularist to be fitted for a prosthetic eye.
Your surgeon will have placed a temporary clear conformer behind your eyelid to prevent the eye socket from contracting. The ocularist will remove the conformer to make an impression of your eye socket. This impression is used to craft your new prosthetic eye.
What Should I Expect from an Ocularist?
You need to feel comfortable with the ocularist who will be making your new prosthesis. Skills and experience are important, so look for a board-certified ocularist. Good, open communication with patients is also a critical factor to consider. Determine if the ocularist is open to answering questions and explaining processes by scheduling an initial consultation.
“I try to put myself in my patients’ shoes. They have usually been through a lot by the time they are referred to this practice,” says Anna Boyd Jefferson, a board-certified ocularist at Carolina Eye Prosthetics in Burlington, NC. “I want to provide my patients with an environment where they are comfortable expressing their thoughts without fear of judgment.”
Anna’s sister and fellow board-certified ocularist, Emma Boyd Nadolski, agrees that establishing trust with patients is vital. “We prioritize making time to answer questions and thoroughly explain our process to every patient,” says Emma. “By starting the patient relationship with good communication, it helps them to feel more comfortable and helps us offer the best possible final prosthesis.”
Schedule a No-Cost Consultation
If you want to learn more about prosthetic eyes and the services offered by Carolina Eye Prosthetics, schedule a no-cost consultation today. Complete our online form or call us toll-free at (877) 763-9393. Patients who are unable to come to the office are also welcome to schedule a virtual consultation.