Creating a prosthetic eye is a special form of art that, when made by a skilled ocularist, the prosthetic becomes a part of its wearer. The process of fitting an ocular prosthesis usually begins with surgery to remove all or most of the non-functioning or damaged eye in order to create what is known as an anophthalmic socket. Losing an eye can be a traumatic experience but Beverly Hills oculoplastic surgeon, Dr. Mehryar (Ray) Taban, uses innovative techniques to preserve the remaining and surrounding structures (eye socket and eyelids) in order to provide the best possible outcomes for his patients with prosthetic eye surgery.
What is an Ocular Prosthetic?
Most of the time, when people think about a prosthetic eye, they think of a glass sphere that fits into the ocular socket. However, a prosthetic eye can refer to either a complete ocular replacement or a prosthetic that is placed over an existing eye, like an ocular implant.
An eye prosthesis is a great option for lost eye replacement, particularly for patients who have lost an entire eye due to trauma or disease. The eyes are extremely vulnerable and patients may require prosthetic eye surgery if they have experienced the following:
- Birth defects
- Certain types of cancer
Is an Artificial Eye Necessary?
Losing an eye is a traumatic experience and adjusting to life without both eyes can be an overwhelming and difficult process. Fortunately, prosthetic eye surgery can improve the appearance of the affected eye socket and restore the patient’s normal overall appearance as well. For most people, a replacement eye is vastly preferable to wearing an eye patch or a bandage, which might draw unwanted questions or stares.
Learn more about ocular prosthetics at Wikipedia.org.
The History of Eye Replacement Techniques
The artificial eye actually dates back to ancient times. Egyptian priests, as early as fifth century BC, were the first to make artificial eyes using enameled metal or painted clay. These early ocular prosthetics were actually worn outside of the eye socket.
It took nearly 20 centuries for an in-socket artificial eye to be created. By the 1600’s in Venice, Italy artificial eyes were made of glass. These early glass eyes were rudimentary, often uncomfortable to wear, and very fragile. It took until the 19th century for glass artificial eye making to find its way to the United States.
With the invention of modern medical-grade plastics came the new acrylic eye, which has several advantages over traditional glass artificial eyes. Modern acrylic is a superior material for prosthetic eyes for three reasons:
- Acrylic doesn’t shatter
- The prosthetic can be customized to the individual’s anatomy
- Acrylic eyes can be fitted with custom irises for a more realistic appearance
The modern prosthetic eye is actually shaped like a shell and fits over an ocular implant that is a separate hard, round device that is surgically and permanently embedded deeper in the eye socket. When undergoing lost eye replacement, an ocular implant is often wrapped with living tissue or a synthetic cushioning material before placement. Later, the ocular prosthesis is created to fit over the ocular implant, giving people a natural-looking, artificial eye.
Who Should Perform Your Ocular Prosthesis Procedure?
When choosing a surgeon to perform artificial eye surgery, it’s important to look for a cosmetic and reconstructive facial surgeon who is a specialist in eyelids, orbital sockets, and the tear drain system. Membership in the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) indicates that the surgeon is not only a board-certified ophthalmologist who knows the anatomy and structure of the eyelids and orbit but also has had extensive training in ophthalmic plastic reconstructive and cosmetic surgery procedures, such as lost eye replacement.
Consult with Dr. Taban, Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
Dr. Mehryar (Ray) Taban is board certified in the field of Ophthalmology in Los Angeles and has a unique background and knowledge of artificial eye surgery. If you’d like to learn more about eye socket surgery and what artificial eye treatment options may be best for you, contact us today to schedule an initial consult with Dr. Taban at his Beverly Hills or Santa Barbara office location. Contact TabanMD online or give us a call in Beverly Hills at (877) 958-9277 or in Santa Barbara at (805) 669-9101.