Prosthetic Eye FAQ

Prosthetic Eye FAQ

Information cited from American Society of Ocularists

What is a board certified ocularist?

The National Examining Board of Ocularists (NEBO) is an independent entity whose directors come from the following participating organizations:

-American Academy of Ophthalmology
-American Board for Certification of Orthotics and Prosthetics
-American Society of Ocularists
-Canadian Society of Ocularists
-Public Member

NEBO awards the title, Board Certified Ocularist (BCO), to those ocularists who successfully complete a comprehensive two-part written and practical examination. All BCOs must complete continuing education requirements and be re-certified by NEBO every six years.

How Are Artificial Eyes Made?

What method do you use to make your artificial eyes?

The ocularists at Carolina Eye Prosthetics use the modified impression method to make artificial eyes for all of their patients. This technique was developed by Lee Allen at the University of Iowa.

When Should I Contact You?

When should I consult my Ophthalmologist or my Ocularist?

It is best to consult your eye doctor with any noticeable increase in tearing from the eye socket, with any marked loss or reduction or comfort, with excessive persistent mucoid discharge or with any easily recognized bulging out of the artificial eye. If there is an implant present, bulging could indicate extrusion or cyst and should call for immediate attention.


When Should I Re-Fit My Eye?

When do I need a re-fit of my prosthesis?

Occasionally, not all the edema (swelling) is gone from the orbit at the time of an original prosthetic fitting. As the edema disappears, which may take several months to a year, the artificial eye may sink deeper into the eye socket and the upper eyelid may droop over the eye. Whenever this becomes noticeable, it would be best to add plastic to the eye beginning with a new impression taken on the back of the prosthesis. As already noted earlier, slow atrophy of the fat from deep in the orbit can require the same kind of refitting as above.

Rarely, a person will have sudden extreme loss of body weight which will be accompanied by a sinking back in the socket of the eye, requiring refitting of the prosthesis.

Are Eye Drops Necessary?

When should I use eye drops? Are they even necessary?

Sometimes eye lubricating drops are needed. The majority of persons do not need to use special lubrication when they have been fitted by the modified impression method. 

However, a small percentage of artificial eye wearers have fewer tears than necessary In such cases there is considerable friction as the eyelids open and close, rubbing against the hard plastic surface. This can cause discomfort and enough disturbance of the eyelid tissues to give infections an easy start.

Those persons with dry eye sockets, whose eyelids close completelywhen they blink and when they sleep can use aqueous lubricating solutions such as artificial tears. There are several brands in drug stores, which may be tried. It is not possible to make specific recommendations because personal reactions to each varies so much. A lubricant which is very helpful to one person is often irritating or otherwise objectionable to other persons. Each prosthetic wearer must discover for himself which lubricant is most helpful.

For dry sockets where the eyelids do not close during sleep, oily lubricants are needed because aqueous solutions evaporate and form hard, dry films across the front of the eyes which become irritated during blinking.

Your ophthalmologist may prescribe other special drops for infections, allergies, etc.

When Should I Clean My Eye?

How long should you wear the eye before removing it for cleaning?

The answer to this common question varies with each individual. No two people react the same way to the prosthesis. You should discover by trial how long you can go between cleanings. Wear the eye as long as it does not have material stuck to its front surface and it is comfortable. In simple terms, “Don’t bother it unless it bothers you.”

After some experience you may be able to anticipate discomfort and clean the eye just before it would begin to cause trouble.

Many of our patients wear their prosthesis for six months to a full year without removal for cleaning. It is important to re-evaluate and polish the prosthesis once a year.

Only a few persons need to remove the eyes once each day for cleaning. Fewer yet remove and wash them morning and evening. Perhaps only one in many thousands find it necessary to take the eye out during sleep, replacing it in the morning.

What is Re-Glazing?

My ocularist says I have to return from time to time to have my prosthetic eye re-glazed. What does this mean? Am I throwing my money away?

The plastic itself doesn’t require any maintenance other than an annual polish.