People sometimes ask us at what age an artificial eye can be fitted in a baby or young child. There’s no easy answer to this question. Some kids, like some adults, just can’t tolerate wearing an artificial eye – particularly a haptic lens – because the eye/socket is too sensitive.
But for others, fitting an eye at an early age works really well.
We had one such success recently when we gave a seven-month-old baby girl her first artificial eye. Born with micro-ophthalmia, this little girl still had her eye, but it was blind. After experiencing hurtful comments and curious looks by people when out and about, her mother started researching the topic of young children and artificial eyes on the internet. The information and advice she received was that her daughter should be fitted with an artificial eye as soon as possible.
When she approached an eye specialist for advice, she was told that it was too early for her daughter to be fitted with an eye. But she persisted, believing that the artificial eye would resolve the major problem of her daughter being stared at and receiving insensitive remarks. Eventually, the doctor agreed to go ahead with the mother’s request, and we took the first impression under anaesthetic.
When it came to the first fitting in our clinic, we expected the little girl to resist. As is our usual practise, we gently restrained her as the eye was inserted for the first time. She fussed a bit, but it seemed clear to us that she didn’t like being held. So the next time, we let her be. This amazing little girl didn’t even scrunch up her face. The procedure didn’t bother her one little bit.
She now has a magnificent looking eye and her mother is very pleased.
Fitting an eye early not only aids in eliminating hurtful comments, but also helps the child adjust to wearing an artificial eye. This has been a success for this little girl, but we must emphasise that it doesn’t work out for everyone for the reasons we’ve stated above.