How long does a Prosthetic Eye last?
It depends. Based on the type of eye and the materials that are used, the fit, and the age and health of the patient, the lifespan of a prosthetic eye can vary drastically.
Glass eyes must be replaced yearly, whereas acrylic eyes can last up to 30 years. In a healthy adult who regularly cleans and maintains the prosthesis, an acrylic prosthetic will last the longest. Adults can expect their prosthesis to last 3-6 years. For younger patients, it’s recommended that the prosthetics be changed every 4-6 months.
In an unhealthy patient, or a patient whose body is changing due to age, health, weight or other factors, an acrylic prosthesis should be adjusted or remanufactured as those changes occur. A Board Certified Ocularist is the best person to undertake this evaluation and make recommendations on the proper treatment.
Does Insurance cover the cost of an Artificial Eye prosthesis?
Most insurance policies such as PPO’s, HMO’s, EPO’s, and POS cover the cost of an artificial eye prosthesis, including MediCal, Medicare and most private insurance policies. Coverage for a prosthetic eye is not covered under a vision policy. An artificial eye is considered durable medical equipment.
Check with your insurance policy that you have Durable Medical Equipment (DME) coverage. Our office manager Debbie is here to help with any insurance questions you might have. She has over 20 years of experience in this office, and is here to assist you with any questions. Please feel free to call us so we can assist you in determining if your artificial eye is covered by insurance.
Do I need to remove my prosthesis every night?
No. It is not generally recommended that a patient remove their eye in the evening. When a prosthesis is fit properly it should be comfortable and retain in the eye socket. A prosthesis that is uncomfortable and needs to be removed should likely be refit properly so it can be comfortably worn for long periods of time. That being said, there are unique cases where a person will need to remove their eye in the evening — for example, a patient with a fully sensitive phthisical eye (an eye with the same sensitivity as a seeing eye) that uses a prosthesis for natural coloration and appearance. These are rare instances and should be discussed with your ocularist before taking on this maintenance regimen.
Can I still drive a car with one eye?
Absolutely. Some people shouldn’t be driving even if they have 2 seeing eyes! You may need additional mirrors and when driving at night, you should use a greater sense of caution. But there is no reason that you will need to stop driving after the loss of an eye. We have had patients who fly airplanes, ride motorcycles and even drive a fire truck.