Artificial eyes can be provided to people who have had an eye removed (enucleated or eviscerated) which is very rare, or to people who have damaged eyes, small eyes, or other eye-related conditions such as micropthalmia in children.
Artificial eyes can also be crafted to cover a blind unsightly eye. The blind eye does not necessarily require removal for an artificial eye to be fitted
An enucleation operation is where the eye ball is removed. This may be replaced with an orbital implant. The muscles are attached to the implant to provide movement to the artificial eye. The artificial eye is fitted over the implant and while the orbital implant is surgically implanted, the artificial eye can be removed for cleaning.
Evisceration operation is where the contents of the eye are removed, leaving the Sclera (outer shell) and the muscles intact. An orbital implant can be surgically implanted to replace the volume within the sclera.
Microphthalmia is a rare condition where babies are born with a small eye. The management for this involves fitting a series of expanding artificial eyes. This is necessary to promote growth within the socket in order to maintain symmetry of the face.
While the artificial eye is not an exact duplicate of the natural eye it should be indistinguishable to the casual observer.
The shape is derived from an impression taken of the eye socket. This is then sculpted to ensure a comfortable fit and natural positioning if the iris. The artificial eye is individually hand painted with particular attention paid to scleral tinting, veins and details of the iris and pupil size.
The degree of movement of the eye varies depending the orbital implant. While there may be limitations to the degree of movement available a well fitted prosthesis will maximize the available motility of the eye.
A temporary prosthesis or conformer shell is fitted during the surgery. The permanent artificial eye is fitted 6 to 8 weeks after the operation.
Patients can live a normal life with an artificial eye, including sleeping with it in place. This includes wearing make-up, swimming and water sports, although goggles should be worn to make sure the artificial eye cannot fall out and be lost.
A bespoke artificial eye can help restore confidence for patients who have suffered eye loss.