Occasionally we have patients who are diagnosed as non-visioned, but who do have some perception, or we have patients referred to us who have avoided being fitted with prosthetic eyes because of the implications of losing their light perception. We feel it is very important to utilize any available vision when possible, rather than cover the eye with an opaque, artificial eye that cannot be seen through and eliminates any light perception. It is important that ophthalmologists, patients, parents and other ocularists know that solutions are available which provide light perception and the benefits of a prosthesis.
To treat these cases, we are able to put a transparent pupil into the artificial eye so that the patient can use what vision they have. We feel this is particularly important in children who are still developing their neural pathways, so that they still receive the light stimulus into their eye and through their brain so that those neural pathways don’t shut down. Additionally, a small, or underdeveloped eye in a child may benefit from the stimulation of the prosthesis that keeps the face growing. Unlike a choice that seems to face some ocularists, we are not choosing bone growth over light perception, or vice versa, but are maintaining all the benefits that are possible from a prosthesis. While adults do not need growth stimulated, they can use the same process to have vision through an ocular prosthesis.
To be sure we give each patient the best solution possible, we perform our own evaluation of light perception when a patient is treated in our office. We do not assume that a patient is non-visioned even when they are referred to us as a non-visioned individual. Often, when we take photos or begin fitting a prosthesis, we realize that the patient is seeing us. In fact, that is a not uncommon finding as we begin treatment. We do everything we can to stimulate and use vision when it exists. We do not know what the future will hold in medicine. Therefore we try to preserve any abilities that our patients may have with a view to a future when they may be helped in ways we cannot imagine.
Often children are over diagnosed as non-visioned or as having no light perception. This may be because the eye has degenerated to a point where the ophthalmologist does not feel he or she can improve upon it. They see it as a lost cause. However while the situation may not necessarily be improved, we are always encouraged by natural anatomy and any natural abilities or senses that anyone has. We deal with a greater degree of eye loss than most ophthalmologists, all the way from slight vision loss to parts of faces having been removed. Therefore we have an excellent perspective on just how valuable any amount of light perception may be.
Some people with poor vision in one eye experience problems related to confused stimulation to their brain. Therefore they may in fact prefer a traditional, opaque ocular prosthesis because it reduces the confused stimulation to the brain. The office of John Stolpe will help make recommendations about which solution is best.
Very few ocularists undertake the procedure or creating a prosthesis that allows light perception. Perhaps this is because the pieces are much more complex and more difficult to fabricate. But we would hope that many people in the category of low vision or an underdeveloped eye would come to see us and benefit from the use of a prosthesis that allows some vision. We invite you to set up a consultation today to learn how our office may help improve your quality of life.