Most of the people we see are keen to get their first artificial eye. It’s been a long wait since their surgery, and they just want to get on with life minus the dark glasses or eye patch.
But for others – and they’re in the minority – there can be quite a lot of reluctance and resistance.
An eighty-year-old woman who came to see us recently had no intention of going ahead with her first fitting. She’d had her eye removed eight weeks before we met her. Understandably, she was going through a range of emotions – sadness, anger and depression.
‘I’m too old,’ she told us, ‘leave it to the younger people.’ And ‘why would I want an artificial eye at my age…it won’t make any difference’.
She also said how cross she was with herself for getting so emotional about losing her eye. Her final statement was that she wasn’t going to go ahead with her appointment.
Once she’d finished getting everything off her chest, we explained that all the feelings she was experiencing were perfectly normal.
Then we showed her photos of artificial eyes so that she could get an idea of how natural they looked. After that, we played two videos: the first demonstrated how an artificial eye moves; the second video was of a client removing and replacing his eye.
She was amazed at the natural appearance of artificial eyes and how easy it is to handle them. In her mind, she perceived an artificial eye as something that stands out and is obvious because of lack of movement. Perhaps she got this impression from a long time ago when surgical techniques and the skills behind making artificial eyes were a far cry from what exists today.
To help her further, we loaned her a copy of the booklet “Stories of Eye Loss”. It was wonderful to see the impact these stories had on her. She realised that she wasn’t alone, that others had the same feelings.
When she left our office, she announced that she’d call in a couple of days to give us her final decision.
Half an hour later, the phone rang. She couldn’t wait any longer. By the end of the phone call, we’d made all her bookings for her first eye fitting.
We’ve always believed that the best support comes through the sharing of personal stories. And it’s times like these that remind us of this truth. We can educate and inform people about artificial eyes to dispel any myths and misconceptions. Ultimately, it’s the connection between people in the same situation that makes the biggest difference.