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.