We have been making and fitting artificial eyes for over 100 years and the most important thing to remember is that you are not on your own - we treat almost 750 people every year who have an artificial eye fitted for the very first time.
We realise this is a very difficult time for you and those who are close to you but let us assure you that the fitting of your artificial eye is our priority. You will be looked after by an experienced Orbital Prosthetist (OP) who will deal with your treatment personally.
The function of an artificial eye is to restore as closely as possible the appearance of the eye that has been lost. An artificial eye is made from a special hard wearing acrylic which we can cut, shape, or mould to fit you.
The artificial eye does not have the full range of movement that a normal eye has; however, as the muscles in the eye socket move, some movement can be expected. The range of movement of the artificial eye will be largely dependent on the surgery that was performed.
The artificial eye will not be capable of restoring any vision.
Providing there has been no damage to the eyelids or their function, movement of the eyelids will not be affected by wearing the artificial eye. The artificial eye will not affect the ability to cry, providing normal tear production has not been affected by surgery.
Cosmetic eye make-up can still be applied, but care must be taken to ensure that cosmetics do not enter the eye socket as these may cause irritation.
It is normal to have some discharge in your eye socket, this varies from one person to the next. The discharge can be worse in very cold weather or if you are unwell. Other factors – for example an occupation involving a dirty or dusty atmosphere – can affect how dirty the artificial eye becomes.
Replacement of the artificial eye may be necessary from time to time due to natural changes in the eye socket, or changes in the appearance of the remaining eye. Your OP will continue to monitor the suitability of the artificial eye for as long as you are a patient of the National Artificial Eye Service. This service is free to all eligible NHS patients.
After surgery your socket will need time to heal and most patients will be fitted with a clear plastic shape (conformer) to protect the area of surgery and maintain the shape of the socket. We cannot start treatment until the effects of surgery have settled and we will be working with your ophthalmic consultant to ensure this is as soon as possible.
The appointment will last for about one hour. The purpose of this appointment is to do our initial assessment and, where the socket has healed sufficiently, issue you with a half sphere artificial eye.
The OP will choose an acrylic eye of an appropriate colour from their range of stock modifying it to the shape of your socket. During this stage they will probably need to put the eye in and take it out a few times to make sure it fits properly and is comfortable. Finally when they are happy with the size and shape the OP will polish the eye and fit it for you to wear.
Removal and fitting of the artificial eye for cleaning is a simple and painless process. Your OP will show you how to remove, clean, and fit your artificial eye and give you a booklet similar to the use and care page on this site.
Before you leave the clinic the OP will discuss with you the next steps in your treatment in order to provide you with your own custom-made prosthesis.
The OP will continue to see you at varying intervals to check the condition of your socket and replace your artificial eye as needed. If you require any advice or an appointment please contact our helpline on 01253 951131
No, our OPs are fully trained and will ensure that your socket has healed properly before commencing treatment. They will understand how you feel and they will not mind if you are rather nervous, especially at your first appointment.
You can ring our helpline for advice or to make an appointment if required. The number is 01253 951131. We will do all we can to help you, if you have any problems please let your OP know when you visit our clinic.
Some people need more support and advice than others do when faced with the loss of an eye. You can contact your Doctor or Ophthalmic Unit for information on local groups and organisations who may be able to offer help and support. Alternatively you may like to contact one of the organisations listed on our links page.