Life with a prosthetic eye

Life with a prosthetic eye represents first of all a new and strange situation that may throw up many questions. Will it be obvious that I am wearing an artificial eye? Can I do sport or have a sauna with my prosthesis? What do I have to be aware of when at work? Here some answers.

Will it be obvious that I am wearing an artificial eye?

It is our declared aim to ensure that the artificial eye matches the shape of your face as best as possible. To this end, with you, we match the artificial eye in its colour, shape and size perfectly to the healthy eye. Yet essential for the appearance is always the situation within the eye socket, too. This is affected by the particular cause for the loss of the eye and your medical history. With optimal anatomical preconditions of the eye socket, we can achieve a very good movement of the prosthetic eye that operates naturally as far as possible and you can wear your artificial eye without attention being drawn to it.

How is the artificial eye cleaned?

At your first visit to us you’ll get comprehensive advice about caring for, and handling, your prosthetic eye.
The artificial eye should be cleaned every day with tepid water. Never take out the prosthetic eye at the wash basin or over tiled floors! A slip may otherwise quickly mean the prosthesis breaking. We also advise you against cleaning it under running water, as the artificial eye may easily break in the wash basin.

We recommend you to sit at a table to clean the eye. Spread a hand towel in front of you and have a small dish of water ready. Now you can clean your prosthetic eye safely and simply.
Cleaning is also possible, but not necessary, using a standard saline solution like that used for contact lenses, etc.

Should I also wear the eye prosthesis at night?

Whether or not you can wear your eye prosthesis during the night is totally dependent on your personal situation. Please clarify this question directly with your ocularist. He will give you personal advice.
Note: If it makes sense in your case take out the artificial eye at night: Please never store it in liquid overnight! This reduces the durability and service life of your prosthesis.

As a rule, the prosthetic eye may also be worn during the night – your Ocularist will be happy to give you individual advice. If, in your case, it is sensible to take the artificial eye at night, please never put it in liquid overnight!

Is it bad if I don’t wear the prosthesis for some time?

Prosthetic eyes are not only there to reconstruct the visual appearance as well as possible but they also fulfil medical needs. For this reason, you should never take out your artificial eye for a long time! An empty eye socket may cause irritation of the conjunctiva and other complications resulting from a collapse and turning inwards of the lids.
If the eye socket is unprovided for a longer period the folds of the eyelid, into which the eye prosthesis is placed, can contract and recede such that only smaller, cosmetically unsatisfactory prostheses can be fitted. In the worst case it may be that no prosthesis at all can be worn and it is necessary to have corrective surgery.

Can I do sport or have a sauna with my prosthesis?

In principle, you can move freely with a prosthesis.
However, there are certain rules that should be observed:

We recommend to our patients, particularly when playing sports involving a ball where the eyes are in danger, such as tennis, squash or golf, to wear a pair of sports glasses as protection and to keep a sufficient safety distance from the ball and opponent. Care is also called for when riding. Riders should also properly protect their eyes and watch out particularly in open country that their eyes are not injured by branches whipping back.
You can go swimming with a prosthetic eye without any problems. However, you should always wear goggles to protect your eye socket and the conjunctiva from so-called “swimming pool conjunctivitis”. That is an inflammation of the eyes’ mucous membranes that may unfortunately arise occasionally from contaminated water in public pools. However, what you should avoid doing in a swimming pool is diving. The prosthesis may be swept out of the eye socket through the pressure of diving quickly into the water.

Visits to the sauna are also possible without problems. Nevertheless, be careful not to submit the artificial eye to an overly quick change in temperature. For example, a visit to a 90-degree sauna with then a plunge into the ice pool could possibly lead to the prosthetic eye being damaged. If you do extreme sports such as diving, parachuting or bungee jumping, your ocularist will be happy to give you individual advice.

What can I do against dry eyes?

If you suffer with the feeling of dry eyes you can get temporary relief from “artificial tears”. There are many different preparations from various manufacturers available from your optician or pharmacy. Each of them fulfils its purpose, products with hyaluronan are in principal recommended as this ingredient provides additional moisture.
Also, applying eye and nose ointments to the back of the prosthesis can often produce a positive effect in reducing the drying out of the conjunctiva and eyelids.

My eye is running more than usual. Is that normal?

As a rule, increased lacrimal flow, especially in conjunction with increased secretion (whitish to yellowish oily elements in the lacrimal fluid) indicates the presence of a foreign body in the eye. But it can also be a sign of advanced wear and tear of your eye prosthesis. If you have been wearing this for a year or even longer you should make an appointment with us in order to have a new artificial eye made.

What do I have to be aware of when at work?

ln the vast majority of cases, the wearing of a prosthetic eye doesn’t impose additional limitations on you at work. If, for instance, you work at the computer, you’ll see that the artificial eye – just like the healthy eye – will possibly get dry quicker. For both eyes, you can use the same eye drops for this complaint. There are no specific safety precautions for laboratory work either. Protect your artificial eye simply just as you would your healthy eye.
If you work at a trade and are more exposed to dust, this may lead to the prosthetic eye wearing out quicker.
Should you have further questions relating to your specific professional situation, please speak to your ocularist about it. They will point out any individual risks or safety precautions to you if necessary.

Brochure: Living with an artificial eye

All information is also available for you in our brochure: The artificial eye – advice for patients (PDF, 3.3 MB)