Before there was a deluge of cutting-edge medical technologies like corneal transplantations, ocular nerve stimulations, and bionic eyes to fend off blindness, there was the humble artificial eye. The correct medical term for such an implant is an ‘ocular prosthesis’, although it is still referred to widely as a ‘glass eye.’
Authoritative studies suggest that more than a quarter of the world’s population suffers from some sort of impairment in their vision. That is well over 2 billion people.
The ocular implant is used across the United States and the world because they are budget-friendly, long-lasting, and not prone to repeated infections.
Surgical implantation of the prosthetic eye requires years of experience. If you are a resident of Florida or the country’s South-Eastern States, it is imperative that you seek out a licensed ocularist in Tampa FL to ensure the process goes without a hitch.
What are Artificial Eyes Made of?
In the Middle Ages, these glass eyes were actually made of glass. The name stuck. Science advanced rapidly over the centuries, and more materials were used to forge a fake eye.
The vast majority of these prosthetics are made of plastic acrylic that is then designed to take on the form of a human eyeball. Because eye socket sizes vary widely among recipients, acrylic is the most functional and desirable material as it can be molded to take any shape.
Besides acrylic, modern eye prosthetics are also made from ceramic compounds, synthetic resins like PMMA, plus a plethora of experimental materials that promise prolonged life and enhanced durability of these implants.
Note that this prosthesis is not directly implanted into the vacant eye socket. It merely sits atop the ocular implant, which is also made from similar materials but is often covered with living tissue to ensure there is negligible to zero risk of post-surgical complications.
The goal of all ocularists has always been to make an artificial eye look real enough to pass for a natural eye. To an extent, that has succeeded ever since ceramic was used in their manufacture.
When is an Eye Prosthesis Required?
In the last century, the most significant number of prosthetics were used after the end of the Second World War as soldiers and civilians alike had been wounded after heavy shelling, bombings, and shootings.
Wherever there has been a rise in the number of incurable eye infections that will ultimately require the surgical removal of the natural eye, the demand for artificial eyes has skyrocketed. Examples include microbial infections, diabetic retinopathy, scarcity in food and water, humanitarian disasters, and increased levels of glaucoma.
These examples have been observed across several stretches of Africa and South-East Asia.
Not surprisingly, most of the world’s biggest manufacturers of prosthetic eyes have excellent supply chains throughout these two continents.
Damage to the eyes in accidents, tumors, and blunt trauma are also grounds where an ocular transplant is required.
What Happens After the Transplantation Procedure is Completed?
Once you consult your ocularist and schedule a planned procedure, you will be given a list of dos and don’ts. These will depend on your previous medical history and any underlying comorbidity.
The two types of surgical procedures used in removing the afflicted eyeball are ‘evisceration’ and ‘enucleation.’
Your surgeon will determine which procedure suits you the best.
Implanting fake eyes is generally done after the two aforementioned procedures are completed. While local anesthesia is most commonly used in the last stage, you might also be fed a range of sedatives and muscle relaxants during the surgery.
Once the process ends, your doctor will list out a series of steps that you must follow to maintain the eye implant. You will also be prescribed a number of antibiotics which will help the infection from spreading.
Most importantly, you will have to wear a non-transparent eye patch that keeps dust, dirt, and sunlight away from the sensitive areas. Depending on the climate and chances of bacterial infection, you will be asked to keep this on for almost 6 to 8 months.
A Few Last Words
While an artificial eye cannot restore vision, it helps maintain the natural shape of your eye socket. Given time, you can also resume most of your favorite activities.
Complications are not too rare. In light of this, you must keep in constant touch with a reliable Tampa Bay prosthetics facility.
Such a facility might also guide you in finding and joining peer support groups and rehab centers.