Important Information About the Wearing & Care of Your Artificial Eye
Adjusting to the Prosthesis
Although you will probably have some discharge for a few days after being fitted, the majority of patients become accustomed to the artificial eye within the first day that they receive it. If the mucus should dry on the prosthesis and become uncomfortable you should clean it by flushing the eye with warm water and/or a good eyewash (a sterile eye irrigation solution is recommended). This should be done without removal of the prosthesis. You should not remove the prosthesis unless you feel that it is absolutely necessary. Removing the prosthesis causes an increase in discharge and discomfort. The alginate impression, which is taken when your prosthesis is in the process of being made, eliminates the collection of mucus between the posterior section of the prosthesis and the back of the eye socket. With this in mind, if you gently press your prosthesis towards the nose with your index finger (after thoroughly washing your hands), you will dislodge any excess mucus, which can then be flushed away. Always try to avoid rubbing or handling your prosthesis as much as possible. Your fingers and hands can transmit irritating foreign substances, which could possibly infect the eye socket. If you do feel the need to wipe your eye, always wipe towards your nose. And if you have any questions during the first few weeks wearing your ocular prosthesis, do not hesitate to give us a call.
Removal of the Prosthesis
No two people react the same way to the presence of an artificial eye. You should wear the eye as long as it is comfortable, but if there comes a time when flushing the eye clean with eye irrigation solution is not sufficient for comfortable wearing, you should know how to remove it. Allergies, colds, dust, sand and fatigue can lead to excessive discharge, which will give you no choice, but to remove and clean your prosthesis. If you experience excessive dryness (most likely during winter months), we suggest that application of a natural oil to the surface of the prosthesis. The oil will bring immediate relief to your eyelids and further retard dryness. Although you should know how to remove and insert your prosthesis, remember that if your prosthesis looks good and feels comfortable, LEAVE IT ALONE!
How to Remove the Ocular Prosthesis:
1) Wash and rinse hands; make sure that your hands are thoroughly clean.
2) Face a mirror; if you are over a sink put a towel down in case the prosthesis is accidentally dropped.
3) Lift upper eyelid with index finger in order to keep eyelashes out of the iris portion of the prosthesis. When you are sure the suction cup is on the prosthesis, release the upper lid.
4) Pull downward and gently pinch in on your lower lid. Lift the prosthesis up and out. You should place your remaining hand palm up below the eye socket, in the event the prosthesis falls from the suction cup.
Cleaning the Ocular Prosthesis
Once again, wash your hands and rinse well with clear water before handling the eyelids and your prosthesis. Place the prosthesis on a soft cloth near the sink. Be certain that the drain is closed. If the eye socket is irritated or contains mucus, flush it with an eye irrigation solution and dry gently with sterile cotton.
1) Soap hands, using a mild dish washing liquid or optic soap.
2) Pick up prosthesis and rub vigorously with the fingers, water as hot as possible.
3) Thoroughly rinse hands and prosthesis with warm water and be certain that all soap is removed. With the prosthesis still wet, you are now ready for insertion.
Insertion of the Ocular Prosthesis
Once again, make sure your hands are thoroughly cleaned, place towel over sink and face a mirror. Wet the prosthesis.
1) Hold the prosthesis between the index finger and thumb. The top of your prosthesis will be indicated by a red dot, or it will be the section without veins. Lift your eyelid with the index finger of your remaining hand.
2) Slide the upper edge of the prosthesis under the upper lid as far as possible.
3) Release the upper lid, and while holding the prosthesis, take the free hand and depress the lower lid enough to allow the bottom edge of the prosthesis to slide into the floor of the socket. Release the prosthesis.
4) Take your index finger and gently press towards the nose with your eyelid closed, the prosthesis will find its own position. Wipe with cotton if necessary.
Continuing Care of Your Ocular Prosthesis
- Because the plastic artificial eye (made from methyl methacrylate resin) is porous, it will absorb fluids produced from the mucous membrane tissues. The acids in these fluids will eventually work their way into the plastic causing their way into the plastic causing small separations on the prosthesis. These separations will ultimately cause you discomfort and may lead to infection. This is why you will eventually have to replace your prosthesis and why we recommend a yearly check up.
- Since children are continually growing they should be checked every six months.
- With most new patients, a return visit is required within one to two months. This will allow us to adjust the prosthesis to the tissues of the socket or the elimination of edema (swelling).
- If your artificial eye must be kept out of the socket overnight or longer, always make sure it is immersed in water. A small plastic cup with appropriate cap is our suggestion.
- DO NOT expose the prosthesis in any way to alcohol or any other solutions. USE WATER ONLY!
- Always use caution when swimming, water skiing or engaging in other water sports/activities. It might be wise to wear some form of eye protection when near water.
For Appearance Sake
- In addition to protecting your remaining eye, an attractive pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses will help distract from any asymmetries, which could not be corrected.
- Remember to always look directly at anyone with whom you are speaking. Rather than moving your eyes, turn your head in the desired direction of gaze.
- Consult your ophthalmologist at least once a year.
- See your ocularist at least once a year for cleaning of your ocular prosthesis. Do not allow anyone but your ocularist to polish your prosthesis.
- If your prosthesis is comfortable, leave it alone.