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.

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

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  1. 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

    • 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. 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?

    • 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. 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. 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,
    Patti
    Please feel free to email me at: delaware.shells@gmail.com

    • 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. Donna says:

    Hello,

    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..

    • 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,
      Ocularist.

  6. 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. 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

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