If you are about to have an eye removed and replaced with a prosthesis, you probably have a lot of questions. This is a somewhat unique experience, so it's probably not one that your friends and family members have a lot of feedback regarding. Keep reading below for answers to some of your most burning questions about getting a prosthetic eye.
When can you get your prosthetic eye?
You may envision going in for your eye surgery and emerging with a prosthetic eye, but this is not exactly how it works. Your eye surgeon will remove your eye first. Then, the area will be given a month or two to heal before you can be fitted for a prosthetic eye. By this time, the tissue lining the eye will be healthy and strong, so it will not be overly irritated by the prosthesis. Your eye surgeon will monitor your recovery process and let you know when it's time for a prosthesis.
How do you get fitted for a prosthesis?
Generally, you can start the process of getting fitted for a prosthesis a few weeks before you actually can wear the prosthesis. You'll need to visit the prosthetic specialist so they can take measurements of your eye socket, evaluate the color of your other eye for a perfect match, and discuss your options with you.
Do you have to wear a prosthesis?
Sometimes, patients wonder if they can get away with just wearing an eye patch over the missing eye rather than getting a prosthesis. This is not a great idea because the role of a prosthetic eye is not just cosmetic. The eye is also intended to support your eye socket so it does not collapse in on itself and distort the look of your face. So, even if looks are not important to you, you will need to get a prosthetic eye rather than just wearing a patch.
How do you adapt to wearing the eye?
Most people start off by wearing their prosthetic eye for only a few hours at a time. This helps your eye socket slowly adapt to the presence of the eye. Any irritation initially caused by the prosthesis has time to abate between wearing sessions. Over a few weeks' time, you will begin wearing the prosthesis more constantly, until you're able to wear it all day without issues.
Do you wear your prosthesis at night?
Initially, you may not wear your prosthesis at night because doing so can cause some discomfort. However, wearing it overnight is the ultimate goal. This way, your prosthesis will provide support for your eye socket during all hours of the day and night.
How do you care for your prosthesis?
Your prosthetic eye will accumulate protein deposits as you wear it. So, you will need to remove it and give it a good cleaning about once a month. Every few months, you can take it in to a professional, who will give it a more thorough cleaning to remove stuck-on protein deposits. It's important to keep up with this cleaning schedule to prevent scratches and other damage to the prosthetic eye.
Will wearing the prosthesis hurt?
Most patients do not find wearing the prosthesis at all painful, though the pressure of the false eye may feel strange after having had an empty eye socket for a few weeks. Rest assured that in a few weeks' time, you won't even notice the eye is there. It will be your new normal.
If you have additional questions about prosthetic eyes and the process of adapting to one, reach out to your eye surgeon.