An ocular prosthesis is a replacement for the absence of a natural eye that is inserted into the eye cavity mainly due to an intervention of enucleation or evisceration.
Enucleation And Evisceration
Enucleation is an important intervention in ophthalmic surgery. It is the complete removal of the eyeball and part of the optic nerve. Evisceration, on the other hand, is psychologically less invasive and traumatic. It is the process of emptying eyeball and leaving the sclera (the fibrous membrane that covers the majority of the eyeball) intact and the muscles attached to it.
It is obvious that such interventions constitute a drastic solution which is reached in cases of extreme severity, such as:
- car accidents or accidents at work,
- trauma with penetration of a foreign body in the eye socket,
- presence of untreatable infections,
- ocular tumors,
- chronic diseases for which the eye is perpetually sore and aesthetically compromised (e.g. neovascular glaucoma).
What Is An Ocular Prosthesis
Immediately after enucleation or evisceration, it is necessary to affix a forming acrylic within the ocular cavity in order to maintain the size of the ocular volume and, depending on the intervention, an endoprosthesis. It is a system for mobility that replaces the functions of the muscles for eye movements.
Subsequently, from about two weeks to a month from the operation and in any case when the healing process has ended, the patient is provided with an ocular prosthesis.
The prosthesis is medically and surgically modeled into perfection with the anatomical and aesthetic characteristics of the patient so as to be virtually indistinguishable from a normal eye.
Wearing A Prosthetic Eye
The provision of an artificial eye allows the patient, who has suffered physical and psychological trauma of enucleation or evisceration, to be in harmony with the situation.
In addition, the prosthesis serves as a protective barrier against external pathogens and allows the facial features to maintain a symmetrical appearance.
Once the patient is given the final restoration, this can be safely worn all day and does not affect any act of daily activities such as makeup, water sports, and, after special examination, driving. The prosthesis can then be worn even during the night.
Once learned from your eye doctor, the act of inserting and removing becomes quite natural even in older patients and in children. The use of a lubricating solution in drops or gel form aids the process.
Maintaining An Ocular Prosthesis
An ocular prosthesis requires careful maintenance to avoid the hassle of infections, irritation of the tissues, and poor tolerability.
Every day, it is good to clean it with lukewarm water, a saline solution or with specific disinfectant products. It is not always necessary to remove it and one can, in fact, carry out the cleaning of the prosthesis in the morning and in the evening without removal.
Once a week, or when the need arises, it is then necessary to perform a thorough cleaning of the orbital cavity.
It is always possible to instill eye drops on the prosthesis while it is strongly discouraged to use ointments as they can cause encrustation on the surface.