What is a prosthesis ~
When an eye is removed (enucleation), the surgeon places an implant into the socket that remains buried in the tissue for life. About 6 weeks after surgery when the tissue is healed without swelling, an ocular prosthesis (artificial plastic eye) is fitted by an ocularist (an artist who specializes in making the artificial human eye) to cover the buried implant. The prosthesis is a removable device and resembles a thick contact lens. The prosthesis fits comfortably and provides a natural appearing eye that matches the opposite eye.
How long can a prosthesis be worn ~
A prosthesis can remain in the socket for life, but it should generally be cleaned daily while bathing or showering by rinsing the surface using clean warm water. A warm washcloth can be used to wipe off debris without removing the eye.
Occasionally, it should be removed to clean off mucous or debris. Most parents remove a child’s prosthesis at home for cleaning every 1 to 3 months. If the child is seen by an ocularist or an eye doctor, then it can be cleaned at their facility. Sometimes a prosthesis feels dry and teardrops are necessary for lubrication.
Should the prosthesis be replaced ~
During the child’s lifetime, the eye socket will grow and the prosthesis may need to be reshaped or even completely replaced to better fit the socket. This will be determined by the ophthalmologist or ocularist. In general, the prosthesis should be checked annually by the ocularist.