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Prosthetic Eye is a cosmetic replacement, also called an ocular prosthesis or artificial eye, for a surgically removed (enucleated) eye. A specialist called an ocularist designs the prosthetic eye to be as close a match in appearance as possible for the remaining natural eye.
Prosthetic Eye Implant
The most common type of prosthetic eye attaches to a spherical implant the same size and shape of the eye that the surgeon places in the orbit (eye socket) after removing the eye. As the healing process takes place, other tissues and blood vessels grow into and around the implant, anchoring it firmly within the orbit.
Once healing is complete, the surgeon drills into the front of the implant to attach a small post. The post then holds the prosthetic eye, a “facing” that fits over the front of the implant. The muscles of the orbit move the implant in coordination with the movements of the healthy eye, providing a natural appearance to the prosthetic eye.
Another type of ocular prosthesis is a scleral shell, which covers a dysfunctional and disfigured eye that remains in place. The scleral shell is somewhat like an oversize contact lens, fitted to rest on the eye as does a contact lens. The ocularist designs the front of the shell to match the appearance of the other eye. Because the scleral shell rests on the surface of the eye, it moves in synchronization with the other eye for a natural appearance.
Over time the orbital structures change and the materials of the prosthetic eye experience some natural deterioration. Most people need to replace the prosthetic eye every two years, though the implant is permanent. Children may need more frequent replacements to keep pace with their growth. The prosthesis requires regular care and cleaning.
See also ENUCLEATION.
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