- What is an artificial eye?
- What is the procedure for making my artificial eye?
- How do I clean my artificial eye?
- How often should I see my Ocularist?
- What should I look for to see if I need an adjustment or build-up?
- How does an artificial eye move?
- What is an implant?
- What is motility peg?
- How often should I replace my artificial eye?
Q: What is an artificial eye?
A: An artificial eye is a medical device that replicates the look and movement of a real live eye. It is made from a heat-cure, medical-grade acrylic plastic and fits within the socket behind your eyelids. With the help of an ocular implant the artificial eye moves along with your live eye. It is completely custom made to match your eye colour, size and eyelid opening.
Q: What is the procedure for making my artificial eye?
A: Generally, we fabricate an artificial eye in either one or two appointments depending on your schedule. A one-day appointment will take the whole day to complete but you will go home with your artificial eye finished, with a two-day appointment we will create the colour and shape one-day and you will return another day for the fitting. When you come in for a one-day appointment, we will measure your iris size and evaluate the colour. We will then paint your iris colour to exactly match your live eye. Every detail and shade is precisely matched to get the most realistic appearance. We will then create a wax template to fit your socket size and contours. This template is used to take an impression of your socket. The impression takes only one minute and when removed has the consistency of wet rubber. It is a painless, easy procedure but essential for a accurate fit. Now, you will be given a break for an hour and a half so that we can process this shape into acrylic. When you return we will paint the white of your eye matching all of the pigmentation and veins, of your live eye. This normally takes around 45 minutes. We will then process your artificial eye one last time which will take one hour. When you return, the eye will be complete and it is time for the final fitting. We will ensure all aspects of the artificial eye are correct and give you all necessary information for the maintenance of your artificial eye.
Q: How do I clean my artificial eye?
A:First off, your regular 6-month reglazing appointment keeps the eyes' clarity at its best.
- Between appointments we recommend taking the eye out every 6 weeks and washing it with anti-bacterial soap. This will disinfect the eye and allow you to remove any loose eyelashes or grit that could get trapped behind the eye.
- Start by placing a wash cloth or paper towel over the drain. This will protect your eye from falling down the drain if it is accidentally dropped (it does happen).
- Place a clean paper towel beside the sink so that you have a clean place to put the eye down.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap.
- Remove your eye and wash it thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap. Use a soap with no moisturizers or perfumes, dish detergent works best (Palmolive, etc.).
- Rinse the eye, making sure to remove all soap suds from your eye and hands.
- Dry the eye with the paper towel and re-insert the eye into the socket.
- Add a drop of artificial tears to lubricate the eye until your own tears have re-lubricated the eye.
- To clean your eye daily, you do not have to remove it. Simply use a Kleenex or face cloth with warm water and wipe the eye and lids to remove any discharge.
A: We recommend seeing your Ocularist every six months. This allows us to inspect and evaluate the eye to see if there is any change to the fit or appearance. At that time we can re-surface the prosthesis to give it that wet, life-like appearance again or we can adjust the eye to better fit your socket and improve the cosmesis.
Q: What should I look for to see if I need an adjustment or build-up?
A: As we age our eye socket changes just like the rest of our body. Because our artificial eye is a solid shape it must be adjusted or built-up to compensate for this change. The most frequent adjustment we see in our clinic is the eye has become too small. What you will see is the upper eyelid will start to look droopy, especially later in the day, as you get tired. It will appear more closed than your other eye and this is an indication you should make an appointment to see your Ocularist. If you follow our six month appointment cycle we can evaluate your artificial eye and make any adjutments necessay in order to keep it looking its very best.
Q: How does an artificial eye move?
A: Your live eye is controlled by six muscles, which give your eye; up, down, left, right movement as well as twisting motions between these directions. Your artificial eye moves by using these same muscles attached to an implant instead of your real eye. At the time of surgery, as your live eye is removed an implant roughly the same size as your eyeball is placed in the same position. These muscles are then re-attached to this implant. To encapsulate this implant in the socket, the thin membrane of tissue in your socket is sutured closed. This is where we come in. During the making of your artificial eye, we take an impression of your socket which allows the artificial eye to fit the implants' contours precisely. As your implant moves, this precision fit allows the artificial eye to track around exactly the same as your live eye.
Q: What is an implant?
A: An ocular implant is a medical device, surgically embedded into the eye socket once the live eye has been removed. This ocular implant is a round ball made from either porous polyethylene (Medpor), Hydroxy Appetite or PMMA . They fall into two categories, porous or non-porous implants. Porous implants such as the Hydroxy Appetite and Medpor have uninterrupted interconnecting tunnels that allow vascular in-growth. These implants essentially become part of your body. They have minimized migration and excellent motility. Non-porous implants such as PMMA are solid acrylic spheres. They are simpler to remove, cheaper and do not react with the body. They are capable of migration and experience less motility. Both porous and non-porous implants can be wrapped in donor scleral tissue for ease of insertion and bio-compatibility. When the implant is in place the surgeon will suture the four extraocular muscles to the implant and close the mucus membrane tissue over the implant. These four extraocular muscles, attached to the implant create the movement for the artificial eye. What you will see inside the socket without your artificial eye is mucus membrane similar to the tissue inside your mouth.
Q: What is a motility peg?
A: A motility peg is a system to increase the movement of your artificial eye. After the initial surgery, a titanium sleeve can be screwed into your porous implant. This sleeve has a hole down the center that accepts a titanium post with either a round or semi-round head. During the fabrication of your artificial eye an impression of this titanium post is taken and incorporated into the fabrication of your artificial eye. When the eye is completed there is a corresponding indentation on the posterior side of the artificial eye that matches up with the titanium post inside the socket. When the artificial eye is placed into the socket the titanium post will lock onto the artificial eye allowing for better movement. The artificial eye can still be inserted or removed by the patient for cleaning. The motility peg system is made from non-magnetic titanium components so X-rays, M.R.I and CT Scan procedures can be conducted without the removal of the system.
Q: How often should I replace my artificial eye?
A: An artificial eye should be replaced every five years. Because of the exposure to ultraviolet light and body acids within the socket the plastic used to make your artificial eye will breakdown on a molecular level becoming duller and less comfortable. If you are an Ontario resident the Assistive Devices Program, through the Ministry of Health will pay a percentage of the cost for a new prosthesis every five years.