Artificial Eye Care
Regular artificial eye care is needed to keep the eye looking bright and to maximize the wearer’s comfort.
An ocularist should polish the eye at least once a year to reduce discharge from the socket, minimize infection risk, maintain comfort.
The eye can be cleaned at home using a solution prepared specifically for artificial eyes, certain other products, or cool boiled water. Ask your child’s ocularist for guidance on the best locally available solutions.
Some people wash their eye/s as part of daily personal hygiene, like cleaning their teeth. Others do not remove their eye/s at all between ocularist appointments, and simply clean around the eye with cool, boiled water.
Becoming used to the eye being removed and replaced is important for young children, and ocularists generally recommend that the eye/s be removed, washed in cool boiled water and replaced once a day. When your child is used to this, or even doing it themselves, you can find a balance that works for you and your child.
Note how long the artificial eye can be warn before it begins to become uncomfortable. Then in future, remove it for cleaning before you anticipate the symptoms returning.
Too Much Handling
As the eye can be easily removed by hand, young children often quickly learn how to do this, and it can sometimes be hard to keep the eye in place.
Artificial eyes are almost indestructible. They will survive being dropped, thrown, trodden on, bitten, chewed, even swallowed by the child or family pet!
However, the more an eye is removed and touched, the more opportunity there is for infection.
The eye socket contains mucus membranes that bathe the eye. When an eye is removed, the body produces more fluid to keep the artificial eye lubricated.
Low humidity, air conditioners and pollution all dry out the eye socket, causing an increase in tear production to lubricate the eye. Sometimes these tears spill over as the body works overtime to moisten the prosthesis.
Over time, discharge coats the eye with protein deposits that can cause a small itchy allergic reaction on the inside of the upper eyelid.
Using preservative free eye drops helps the body regulate lubrication, prevents the socket from drying out and removes daily protein build up. Regular cleaning and annual polishing of the eye also eliminates protein build-up.
A little discharge is normal. Sometimes this crystallises overnight, making the eyelids sore. You can prevent this by placing lubricating gel or a tiny drop of petroleum jelly or liquid paraffin on the prosthesis and along the lashes before sleep.
Green or dark yellow discharge can indicate infection, and you should consult an ophthalmologist about this promptly. If you have allergies that cause your eyes to water, the discharge can sometimes reflect the colour of pollen causing the allergy.