Enucleation Surgical Procedure

Enucleation is a surgical removal of a cancerous eye or a severely diseased or damaged eye. The operation, performed under general anesthesia, takes about an hour. After removing the eye, the surgeon places an implant to fill the shape of the socket and provide a means of attaching a prosthetic eye.

A pressure dressing stays in place over the eye orbit for one to two days to minimize swelling and allow the implant to become firmly rooted in the conjunctival tissue.

During this time it is common as well as frightening for people to have difficulty opening the other eye, as the eyes are accustomed to functioning together. Once the bandage comes off and the eyelid of the operated eye is free to move, the eyelid for the unoperated eye resumes normal functioning.

Complete healing takes about six weeks, during which time it is necessary to place anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops in the operated eye socket to keep swelling and the risk for infection to a minimum.

Though the operation is uncomplicated and the body quickly heals following the surgery, enucleation can be a difficult procedure for people to accommodate emotionally. Even when the eye has been visionless for a long time, the prospect of losing the eye troubles many people.

The modern prosthetic eye is typically such a close match for the remaining eye that it is unapparent to other people. Once the operative site heals, the eye orbit (socket) and implant require little care or attention beyond cleaning the external eyelid area for hygienic purposes.


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