Eye Removal – What Are My Options?

We had an email this week from someone with a damaged blind eye. She had several concerns about having the eye removed and being fitted with an artificial eye.

The first question was about how noticable the artificial eye would be. She was also wondering what sort of movement could be expected from an artificial eye. Her last concern was about whether the operation is painful. We thought her questions might be relevent to others so here is how we answered her email.

There are two options. The first is to have a haptic lens made which is a shell that fits over the existing eye. With the lens, the iris would be aligned with the good eye and the movement is usually very good. This option isn’t suitable for everyone. If the eye is extra sensitive or the volume of the eye is too great then it is more advisable to go for option two. We would really need to see you to assess if you would be suitable for a haptic lens.

The other option is enucleation or evisceration – this is where the blind globe is surgically removed and replaced with a surgical implant. The muscles are attached to the implant which in turn gives movement to the eye prosthesis. The prosthesis sits over the implant and is held in place by the eyelids. The movement is usually pretty good but generally not as efficient as a haptic lens.

An evisceration is similar to an enucleation. With an enucleation the globe is removed. In the case of an evisceration the contents of the globe are removed. There is much debate over which is the better one – we can’t answer that.

Recovery from surgery depends on several factors. We have heard many different explanations of the pain. Some people say it was easily managed while other people tell us they required stronger medications to manage. The pain can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. The swelling is usually pretty settled within four weeks.

We have produced a information leaflet on Going Home After Surgery Basically we recommend you give yourself a chance to heal. No heavy lifting and plenty of rest. You won’t be back to work for at least two weeks and most people take longer than that. We can make up a temporary eye prosthesis which is placed in the socket straight after surgery.

We would be happy for you to drop in for an assessment and chat. I hope this helps you to understand your options a bit better.

More information on Emotional Response To Eye Loss.

21 Responses to “Eye Removal – What Are My Options?”

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  1. Avatar for tahira tahira says:

    I have unequal eyes by birth. i will be very thank full to you , if you can tell me is there any other option other than artificial eye for my case like any permanent surgery . i don’t really like artificial eye as it does not give a natural movement to the eye

    • Avatar for Jenny Jenny says:

      I am afraid that there is no surgery that will make both eyes the same again. I presume you where born with micro ophthalmia in one eye. Usually a custom made haptic lens (which is a thin solid lens much like an artificial eye, that sits over the existing globe) does pick up most of the movement from the eye behind.

      Have you had a lens made for you before? If you have been wearing a lens, have you ever filmed the movement of the prosthesis? It is a strange anomaly that someone wearing an artificial eye cannot see the movement by looking in the mirror. We have surprised many people by filming them and replaying the movement to them.

  2. Avatar for Eyes Eyes says:

    Hi Jenny

    What is the realism/lifelike-ness of the artificial eyes? Are the convincing enough to look real by the majority of people?

    And one last question is, what is the texture of the artificial eye like? Is it hard, soft, gel like, glass like?

    • Avatar for Jenny Jenny says:

      The artificial eyes are made from PMMA(poly methyl methacrylate acrylic). It is a heat cured dental grade plastic. They are very hard and can be polished to a high glassy sheen. In the majority of cases the eye prostheses are realistic and fool most of the people most of the time. Because of the nature of the operation most eye prostheses pick up quite natural movement. They certainly have good conversational movement however most do not move to the extremes of the eye socket. There is a good explanation of the operation on http://www.artificialeyes.net

  3. Avatar for Kolby Kolby says:

    I have been wearing a scleral shell in my left eye for nearly five years. I had my right eye removed in september of 2009, and I will have my left eye removed within the next month. I was born four months premature, and my eye condition is known as retinopathy of prematurity. I have been wearing my ocular prosthesis in my right eye since october 2009, and no one can tell that I cannot see. I love my ocularist, and I know that he will match my ocular prosthesis for my left eye to my ocular prosthesis in my right eye perfectly. The most difficult thing for me about having my right eye removed was the emotional roller coaster, and I know that I will experience the same thing when I have my left eye removed. A strong support system helps for sure, and talking to people who have been through the same thing helps too. No one can truly understand what you are going through unless they have been where you are themselves.

  4. Avatar for Patti Patti says:

    I am facing the same prospect of having my left eye removed. I was born three months early and am 40 years old. I am having headaches, eye pain, and my glaucoma pressure went up to 89. I truthfully am scared. Though I want the pain to be gone, and all that I have light perception in the eye that is in trouble. My right eye is the weaker of the two.
    Has anyone experienced dizziness with high eye pressure? I am so unsure of what to expect, but know that it will feel better in the end.

    Thanks for reading,
    Please feel free to email me at: delaware.shells@gmail.com

    • Avatar for Jenny Jenny says:

      I have come across a woman recently who has fought for ten years to save a damaged and painful eye. She finally had it removed a few weeks ago although she still felt unready to face the prospect. I know from other accounts from clients of ours that she will ultimately be thankful for the relief of pressure and pain. She will be able to carry on a better social and working life with an eye prosthesis which will appear a lot more natural and comfortable then the eye that has caused her so much grief.

      It is sad that the damaged eye has taken her away from society for such a long time. It is good however that she has made the decision herself and it was not forced on her. People who have the eye removed tend to carry a lot of ‘what ifs’ in there head and heart.

      I am currently reading an excellent book called ‘The Minds Eye’ by Oliver Sacks. He gives an intelligent and heartfelt insight into binocular and monocular vision. Half way through writing the book he got a melanoma in his right eye which rendered him sightless on that side for much of the time. I haven’t finished reading it yet but will certainly blog about it when I have finished.

  5. Avatar for Donna Donna says:


    My brother had an accident with a firework and has lost vision in his left eye. He is debating on removing his eye or keeping his eye. He feels like the only way that the pain will go away is to remove his eye. How long does it take to heal from an eye injury? Would you say that keeping his eye is a better option that having it removed?
    Thank you in advance for any help or comments..

    • Avatar for Paul Paul says:

      Hi Donna,
      Removing an eye is a big decision and an ophthalmologist will only do the operation as a last resort.

      How long ago was the accident?

      Removing the eye will take away the pain and people who have suffered a lot of pain express relief after the operation. He needs to make the decision by himself. People who have the decision made for them often regret it as they feel they were coerced into it. When he has had enough of the pain he will be ready to have it removed.

      This topic has been discussed on the chat group losteye.com you can read the answers here

      I hope this is helpful. Please keep us up to date of his progress.

      Kind regards,

      Paul Geelen,

  6. Avatar for Tariq Rehmani Tariq Rehmani says:

    My brother is sufering through the same pain of active uveitis and high pressure and pain. After a thorough treatment for 4 years. he is finally making up his mind to go for eye removal. The pain has made him handicapped. He is become light sensitive. Social life is jeopardized. Need your suggestions. He has gone through laser therapies and cyclo cryotherapy.

  7. Avatar for Anis Anis says:

    i have my eye been removed and i wonder if there is any chance that i can get a natural eye instead of the artificial eye

  8. Avatar for theresa theresa says:

    Jenny… I want to say thank you for all your heart felt advice & responses to everyone. I have a close friend that is more than likely going to have eye surgery and I’ve been searching online for information ..I want to help her through this difficult time.

  9. Avatar for tiffany tiffany says:

    I had lost my eye to an accident a few years ago to an accident and I had to remove some the eye because it could not be saved and I had two surgerys now I have been living like this with one eye and the other eye looks pink with a plastic lens and its very embarasing to live my normal life because I constantly have to here comments like
    :what happened to your eye.
    :can you see with that eye.
    And other weird comments so to avoid hearing the embarasing comments and from people stairing I just ware my sunglasses most of the time. Im just tired of were sunglasses and I want to be outside in public with out wareing them for a change. I think its time I should do something about it but dont know what Doctor to go to yet but hopefully soon I can find something that can help me soon so I can have my confidence back

    • Avatar for Paul Paul says:

      Hi Tiffany,
      The specialist you are looking for is an ocularist (Artificial eye specialist). Where do you live? There is a directory of ocularists on the website http://WWW.artificialeyes.net. It is best to work with someone close to you as there are several visits involved in making up the prosthesis and you may also have to return for adjustments as you socket settles. I hope this helps, Paul Geelen, Ocularist.
      Artificial Eye Services,
      12/1329 Hay St
      West Perth, Western Australia, 6005

  10. Avatar for Chirag Chirag says:

    I have an accident 10 yrs ago after tht my right was removed at present I m using a artificial shell but their is no movement in that so I feel very awkward can I have any option for movement

    • Avatar for Jenny Jenny says:

      Hi Chirag, Firstly – have you tried videoing the movement of the prosthesis? A person with an artificial eye cannot see it move in a mirror. Most people are very surprised by how good the movement is when it is played back to them. Having said that, some do not move a whole lot. Having a custom made prosthesis helps and having it attanded to annually also helps the ocularist to assess the fit.

  11. Avatar for sonya Hertig sonya Hertig says:

    Can i have cosmetic surgery on my injured eye? I was shot in the eye with a bow and arrow at age 4. I was fitted with a shell around age 13 but sometimes it is irritating and i wish i could go without. I was wondering about the artificial iris implant. My eye is a little smaller than my good eye so I also wanted to know if some fluid could be replaced. I know that there is 2 kinds of fluids in our eyes but I am not sure what I lost.

  12. Avatar for Susan Susan says:

    My 74 year old husband had an accident and lost vision in left eye 35 years ago. Unbearable pain. Many other health problems. Can it just be removed and no prosthesis

  13. Avatar for Makgofe Makgofe says:

    My brother was hijacked and shot on the head.He lost right eye.We agreed for his eye to be removed through evisceration surgery.Now he does not understand.God can you please guide sum1 to restore the eye back.I know it can be possible

  14. Avatar for jagdish jagdish says:

    I have lost my left eye .i want to remove it. and i want to use artifiscal eye. Is it possible. And what is procedure.

  15. Avatar for Kelsie Kelsie says:

    I have strabismus, amblyiopia and nerve damage to one eye. the eye surgeon said my that since my eye would never get better I needed to remove my bad eye and replace it with a glass eye. My mother asked him if there were any chances of total blindness to which he replied nonchalant “yes, of course”. Obviously, my mother did not follow his crazy advice. Years went by and my eye got a little bit better and my nerves are functioning somewhat better. So, everything he said was a big lie. He just wanted money. How sick.

    I’m glad my mother did not listen to that crazy man.

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