When an eye is removed, a permanent fitting for an artificial eye takes place six to eight weeks later. This is to allow the socket to heal.
Making and fitting an artificial eye requires several appointments with an ocularist.
For some, this can be a period of much frustration. During the healing phase, people either hide behind sunglasses or an eye patch, or just stay at home. Then there’s the matter of organising and getting to appointments for the fitting.
For city people, this isn’t too difficult to arrange. But imagine the costs for those living in the country.
Firstly, there’s the cost of travel over hundreds of kilometres to each appointment, of which there might be five or more. Secondly, there’s the cost of accomodation if people choose to stay in the city for the entire process.
But if none of this is feasible, country people have to wait for a visit from their ocularist to their town, which might be once a year.
Over the past two years, we’ve manufactured temporary artificial eyes to alleviate this problem for country people. A temporary eye can be worn during the healing phase.
Before Christmas, we had three requests by ophthalmologists for artificial eyes for people in the south west.
Normally, these clients have two options: wait the six to eight weeks, then come up to see us in Perth; or wait till Paul does his clinic down there at Easter time.
But thanks to temporary eyes, these clients received their new eyes in time for Christmas.
All it takes is a couple of photos, one photo of the client’s eyes and the other of the whole face. From these, I can make up a temporary artificial eye, which I then post to the client. If adjustments are needed, the client can simply post it back to me.
What it meant for these people was a more enjoyable Christmas, not having to hide behind sunglasses or eye patches. Not to mention a huge saving of time, money and hassle.
While this is not the ideal way to make up an artificial eye it has made a huge difference to these peoples lives. We have only provided this service in the last couple of years and it will take a while for regional ophthalmologists to become familiar with this service.