Frequently Asked Questions
1) How often should an artificial eye be replaced?
In adults it is recommended that a new ocular prosthesis be made every 5-10 years. This is dependent on the condition of the acrylic plastic, the quality of the fit and the overall appearance of the eye. Acrylic plastic will absorb the patient’s tears and secretions over years of wear. This will cause the plastic to deteriorate and can lead to chronic infections. The socket also tends to have structural changes over time as the patient ages. This can cause the prosthesis to fit improperly. It is recommended that children have a new prosthesis made every 3-5years dependent on the child’s growth.
2) How often should an artificial eye be polished?
It is recommended that an ocular prosthesis be polished every 6 months by an Ocularist. This is due to scratches and deposits forming on the surface of the prosthesis. These irregularities on the surface, can cause irritation, discomfort and even damage the delicate tissue lining the lids and socket. This damage can lead to ocular infections and even require surgery to repair the damaged socket. Routine polishing appointments ensure that the prosthesis is comfortable and it allows the Ocularist to evaluate the socket and the fit of the prosthesis.
3) How often should an artificial eye be removed and cleaned?
In most cases it is not recommended that the prosthesis be removed and cleaned unless it is causing discomfort to the patient. This could be because of dirt or an eyelash behind the prosthesis. Removal and washing with proper soap is then recommended, with immediate reinsertion of the prosthesis after cleaning. Topical cleaners (like Ocusoft Lid Scrub) are advised for daily /weekly cleaning, instead of removing the prosthesis. Most patients reframe from removing their prosthesis for weeks-months at a time.
4) What is an artificial eye made of?
Ocular prosthetics in most parts of the world, including the U.S., are made of acrylic plastic. Acrylic is the most technically advanced material used for making artificial eyes. In Germany there are still Ocularists who make glass eyes.
5) Is an artificial eye comfortable to wear?
Yes they are very comfortable to wear when fit correctly by a Board Certified Ocularist. A custom, impression fit ocular prosthesis will not feel any different than your other eye.
6) Do artificial eyes move?
Yes they do. With the modern orbital implants, movement of the prosthesis has greatly improved. Many factors play into the amount of movement the prosthesis will have including condition of the ocular muscles, type of implant, and the past events leading to the loss of the eye.
7) Are eye drops needed when wearing an artificial eye?
Eye drops or artificial tears are needed in some cases depending on the patients natural tear production. Factors such as the patient’s age, climate, use of certain medications, workplace environment and the effects of natural allergens on the patient can require the use of artificial tears.
8) What are the steps after the eye removal surgery?
It is recommended that the patient schedule a consultation appointment a few weeks following the surgery. At this time the Ocularist will evaluate the socket as it is healing. The conformer (the temporary clear curved shape that acts as a splint that was placed in the socket during surgery) is checked for proper fit and refit if necessary. A complete overview of the fitting procedure is explained to the patient and any questions are answered. The fitting procedure is usually scheduled for 6-8 weeks from the date of surgery to allow for proper healing to occur. The fitting procedure is normally a 3 appointment procedure which takes place in 2-3 consecutive days.
9) Does insurance cover ocular prosthetics?
Most insurance plans cover a percentage of the procedure to make an artificial eye. It all depends on the insurance company, the plan, deductible, and co-insurance. Austin Ocular Prosthetics works with most insurance plans including Medicare, Medicaid, United Healthcare, Aetna, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and Tricare among others. During the consultation appointment, fees and estimated insurance coverage are discussed with the patient.
10) Is Austin Ocular Prosthetics Center Licensed or Certified?
Craig Pataky is a Board Certified Ocularist or BCO for short. This means that he has passed an extensive certification exam testing the abilities of an Ocularist. This certification is administered by the National Examining Board of Ocularists (NEBO) and is in conjunction with the American Society of Ocularists which Craig is an active member of. Austin Ocular Prosthetics Center is also registered with the FDA and the Texas Department of State Health Services.