Artificial Eye Service

Artificial Eye Prostheses are provided for patients who have undergone surgery to have an eye removed (Enucleation/Evisceration), or where a patient has Micro or Anophthalmia.  Cosmetic Shells are provided to cover an unsightly damaged eye, which remains in the socket.

We have two on site Maxillofacial Prosthetists based within the Department of Oral Health and carry out Ocular Prosthetics.  Their role is to support the Consultants and associated staff in the Ophthalmology Department with the provision of Ocular Prosthetics.    

Following the removal of an eye, the Consultant Ophthalmologist will usually refer the patient to see a Maxillofacial Prosthetist within three to six weeks for the provision of a temporary prosthesis.  This will be a prosthesis made to a similar shape as the clear conformer (space maintainer) fitted at the time of the eye surgery.  Although the temporary eye will be hand painted to a similar colour of the patients own eye colour, it will not necessarily be an exact match or size at this stage.   Permanent custom made eye prostheses will be made at approximately twelve weeks post surgery. This will consist of an impression being taken of the eye socket, and the shape and size of the socket restored in the form of a wax pattern, onto which a hand painted iris unit is positioned.  Following this, the wax pattern is converted into acrylic before the final painting of the iris and scheral colours is carried out. The prosthesis is then completed in the laboratory ready for delivery to the patient.   Custom made cosmetic shells are produced from an impression taken over the surface of the damaged or unsightly eye.  These can be as thin as 2mm in cross section and are also hand painted.  

Orbital Prostheses are made for patients who have undergone an Exenteration, which is the removal of the eyeball, muscles and the surrounding soft tissues.  This will involve making an eye prosthesis and sculpting the surrounding soft tissues in wax before converting the prosthesis into silicone, which is then colour matched to the patients own skin colours.  This will be held in place on the patient by either a medical adhesive, incorporated on to spectacle frames, or by Implants.  Currently we are using the Branemark Implant system at this hospital.  

General Advice

Artificial Eye Care Recommendations 

Prosthesis Removal – Patients are encouraged to remove their prosthesis only once a week for cleaning, and to sleep in their prosthesis at night.  The reason being that frequent removal of the prosthesis will upset the lining of the socket and increase the amount of discharge produced by the lining of the socket.  

Prosthesis Polishing – Generally, we advise polishing of the atificial eye approximately once a year for most people.  However, some patients require more frequent polishing in order to keep their prostheses clean.  The Maxillofacial Prosthetist will be able to advise on an individual basis.  

Aids for Insertion and Removal of Prosthesis

If you use a suction cup to help you insert or remove your artificial eye, replacements are obtainable from the following: 

  • Technovent (Code J-400) Tel: 0113 293 8180
  • Abacus (Code RS-1)         Tel: 01274 865444

Driving with One Eye

The law requires someone with only one eye to contact and inform both the DVLA and their Insurance Company before driving.