If you are someone who has to use an artificial eye or any other type of ocular prosthesis, you will probably need to visit a prosthetic eye specialist from time to time depending on your particular requirement. Regardless of your condition, you must always visit a board certified ocularist (BOC) for the most scientifically sound and cutting-edge treatment plus care.
Ocularistry is sometimes described as a mixture of art and medicine since it involves the creation of a bespoke ocular transplant, an ‘artificial eye’ in common parlance.
This is a field where a lot of theoretical and practical skills, excellent dexterity while working with an array of materials that make up modern prosthetics, and outstanding attention to detail.
In the United States, prosthetic eye specialists are certified for private or public practice by the American Society of Ocularists or ASO.
Before ASO certification, trained prosthetic eye specialists must appear for and clear the NEBO (National Examining Board of Ocularists) entrance test.
A board certified ocularist is someone who has crossed all these stages and has proven demonstrable skills in the field- from fabricating prosthetics to counseling prospective patients on what they can and cannot do once they receive the artificial eye.
Just like physicians have to appear for MD or MS exams to receive their certifications and start practicing medicine and surgery, an ocular expert requires NEBO and ASO recognition which are benchmarks of advanced skillsets and knowledge.
How do I choose a good clinic with certified prosthetic eye experts?
There are several points you need to keep in mind before you choose a certain prosthetic eye clinic.
Some of the most essential considerations are the following:
1. Quality of prosthetic eye professionals
The first criterion should always be the experience and the reputation of the prosthetic eye specialists who are associated with the clinic. It is imperative that they are certified by the respective governing & regulatory bodies.
A clinic that is staffed by certified prosthetic eye experts should be your first choice. Most reputed medical centers of this type employ only certified professionals.
2. Reputation of the clinic
Clinics or nursing homes which operate in the eye prosthetic sphere should have the capabilities and the know-how of providing end-to-end solutions. This essentially means that besides helping you book an appointment with an experienced prosthetic eye specialist, the establishment should have material and information on all aspects of getting an artificial eye and taking care of it going forward.
Judging the reputation part requires research. You can consult people you trust for advice and their assessment of a particular clinic that you have tentatively selected. Else, you can go online and read what other patients have said about the services provided and whether they would recommend that clinic.
3. Emergency response quality
While modern technologies have ensured that implants are now a lot safer than they used to be, the risk of pre-and-post-surgical infections and other problems remains. The prosthetic eye clinic is your first point of contact. A professionally managed center will have emergency response services available 24×7 throughout the year.
Besides post-surgery problems, people getting their first implants might have a tough time removing the prosthetics, cleaning them, and inserting them back again. Exposed implants are another major cause of concern.
The clinic must immediately put you in touch with your prosthetic eye specialist. For more complicated issues, an emergency session with an oculoplastic surgeon becomes necessary.
Make mental notes of the time the clinic takes in coming to your aid during emergencies. Select the one that offers excellent advice with the quickest turnaround time.
It’s a formula that almost never fails.
You can expect a certified fake eye expert to be honest with you and provide you with both best and worst-case scenarios. The same standards of professionalism and a sense of clinical detachment should also be expected from your shortlisted clinics.
Transparency is a must not merely in financial dealings but in the most essential medical facets: appointment cancellations, diagnostic test results, delivering both positive and negative news without hiding any aspect, and so on.
Furthermore, just like the artificial eye specialist, the medical center should provide you with detailed information on counseling and rehabilitation services which are usually provided at such facilities.
These are just some of the points you should look for. Safety measures, patient care, high-quality telemedicine services, and approachability are some others.
There are plenty of instances where BOCs set up independent practices. You can always get in touch with them if you prefer avoiding clinics.
The process of zeroing upon a board certified ocularist with a private chamber is identical to picking a polyclinic.
The one area which requires extra attention is the experience of the specialist. Remember that senior ocular prosthetics specialists need to put in around 7 years of continuous service before they are even considered for recognition by the ASO!
That is where the primary difference lies and it is why you should consult a BCO every time.