Individuals who suffer from traumatic accidents, eye disease or ocular and orbital cancer sometimes require the need of orbital implants.  Due to advances in surgical techniques and orbital implants, an excellent cosmetic outcome can be achieved. 

When a diseased or injured eye must be removed (enucleated), most patients have the choice to acquire an orbital implant. This is the procedure where the muscles of the eye are preserved and are are used to attach the spherical implant.  By using the eye's natural muscles, a proper volume of the orbit is achieved, allowing motility of the implant.  The implant is generally secured in place by suturing it to the outer layer of the natural eye. 

About 6 weeks following orbital reconstruction, the ophthalmologist will refer the patient to a specialist who specializes in the fitting of a false eye.  This specialist is known as an ocularist. The prosthesis itself is a thin, often porcelain, shell which is designed to look like the patientís other eye. The prosthesis is designed after taking moldings of the patientís orbital tissues and eyelids, so that the prosthesis fits nicely and comfortably. The prosthesis is often designed after making measurements and taking photos of the opposite eye. 

The prosthesis itself is placed beneath the eyelids and on top of the orbital implant (and overlying tissues). It is typically left in place for weeks or months at a time, occasionally needing to be removed to examine the underlying tissues or for cleaning and polishing of the prosthesis itself. If the surgeon was able to attach the muscles of the natural eye to the orbital implant, the prosthesis will usually have motility that tracks the opposite eye. In some cases, when motility of the prosthesis is limited, the surgeon may place a peg in the implant, which fits into a depression in the back surface of the prosthesis. This will often allow greater and more natural eye movements. In many cases, when the eye muscles are attached to the orbital implant, it is difficult for the casual observer to distinguish the natural eye from the artificial one.

If you or someone you know is in need of an ocular prosthesis, contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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