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October 18, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Board Certified Ocularist?

An ocularist is a person who provides the service of fitting and fabricating custom artificial eyes. Board Certified Ocularists (BCO) have received the highest level of education attainable and have successfully completed the National Exam offered by the National Examining Board of Ocularists (NEBO), which is recognized world wide. 

What material is used to make artificial eyes?

In North America, artificial eyes are fabricated from a medical grade plastic material called Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA), more commonly known as acrylic.

Is there pain involved in the process?

Absolutely not! In fact you will find the whole process quite fascinating. 

Is there really such a thing as a "glass eye"?

Yes, there are glass eyes still made, but these are only produced in a few European countries. Glass eyes are a hollow 'blown' type of prosthesis, and are very fragile and are not available in North America. 

Do I need any follow up appointments?

After the initial fitting of the prosthesis, you will need at least one appointment a month later to assess that the fit is still accurate.

It is also necessary for you to return to see your ocularist on an annual basis to have the prosthesis repolished. This enables the protein deposits to be removed and to restore its lustre/shine. This appointment also provides an opportunity to make any adjustments and to provide you with the best possible appearance, comfort and evaluation of the health and condition of your socket. 

Should I leave my new prosthesis in place forever?

No! The prosthesis should be removed every one or two months and cleaned to remove any protein deposits that may have accumulated on its surface. If you have been fitted with a scleral shell, this should be removed each night. See Care & Hygiene

How often does a prosthesis need to be replaced?

Generally, most adult patients will require their prosthesis to be replaced every five to seven years, with the exception of the initial prosthesis. During the first one to two years following the surgical removal of your eye, the socket settles the most resulting in socket changes.  This may necessitate a new prosthesis to be fabricated to optimize the fit, comfort and cosmetic result. Children require a replacement ocular prosthesis approximately every two to three years due to their rapid growth.

Why do they need to be replaced?

Over a period of time, changes take place in the socket shape creating a poorly fitting prosthesis. Therefore, the position of the eyelids may appear different to the 'good' side. There may also be reduced movement to the prosthesis. An older prosthesis may absorb secretions from the socket and cause a continual discharge and irritation.

What is a scleral shell?

This is a custom-made, thin ocular prosthesis fitted directly over a blind and shrunken globe. It includes the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and the sclera (the white part of the eye), completely covering an unsightly, discoloured globe. The blind eye must be smaller than the 'good' eye, to allow space for the scleral shell to be fitted and to provide a good cosmetic result. The scleral shell helps to restore volume loss and will usually assist the upper eyelid to return to a normal position and match the companion eye. Movement with a scleral shell is usually very good.

I have heard of 'pegged' or 'integrated' implants. What are they?

Some types of implants are porous. These materials allow for the in-growth of tissue into the implant. Occasionally, a small 'peg' is fitted into the implant by the ophthalmologist which can provide a greater degree of movement to the prosthesis. Due to numerous complications that arose, this pegging procedure is rarely performed nowadays.