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Prosthetic Eye Surgery: What to Expect

After surgery to remove the natural eye, a ball-shaped ocular implant is permanently and deeply implanted. Later, the removable prosthesis is created to fit over it.

Removing a damaged eye is usually performed under local anesthesia. Sedating medicines and pain medicine may be given through the veins to reduce anxiety and pain. General anesthesia is usually not necessary but is an option.

Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for several days after prosthetic eye surgery. Antibiotic eyedrops are usually prescribed for a few weeks. The eye socket is kept covered and given months to heal.

After healing is complete, a specialist in prosthetic eyes (ocularist) makes wax impressions of the front of the eye socket. The ocularist builds a custom prosthetic eye to fit over the ocular implant. A new iris (colored part of the eye) is carefully painted on by hand to match the healthy eye.

A prosthetic eye moves, but often not as fully or briskly as your other healthy eye. The pupil in a prosthetic eye does not change in response to light. So the pupils of the two eyes may appear unequal.

The eye socket may continue to change shape after surgery. Additional fitting and adjustment of the prosthesis may be necessary for weeks or months after initial placement.

Although the surgery itself is minor, loss of an eye and adjusting to life with a prosthetic eye can be very challenging, psychologically, and emotionally. Counseling and support groups are available to help people through this often difficult period.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on July 19, 2014
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