Eye injury is traumatic and often times painful. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 2.5 million people in the U.S. suffer eye injuries, which may result in partial or complete loss of vision or loss of an eye. Some common ways that eye injuries occur are:
- Household chemicals
- Workshop or yard debris
- Car battery acid
- Sports accidents
- Overexposure to UV Light
- Toys with projectiles / games
- Furniture corners
- Work-related injuries among industrial/auto workers, welders, plumbers, etc.
Suffering an eye injury can feel demoralizing and embarrassing, not to mention painful and extremely traumatizing. However, it is important for those who have sustained an injury to remember that they are not alone. Accidents can and do happen in life. It is recommended that those suffering eye injury seek counseling and therapy to deal with the many emotional issues surrounding their accident.
The good news within this sad subject is that there are excellent options for patients to overcome their eye injury, readjust to life, and look and feel extremely “normal.”
When people suffer eye injuries, one of the common side effects to loss of eye or vision is that they must deal with a significant change to their physical appearance. They may have a discolored eye, their eye may be misaligned, or they may have had their eye removed altogether. This is where the ocularist comes in, and one area where we can truly help people regain a sense of normalcy.
In all of the above cases of eye disfigurement, an ocularist helps by creating a prosthetic eye or scleral shell to either fit in the patient’s socket, or over their existing eye, much like a hard contact lens. It is important for people to understand that, even if they still have an eye but it is simply unslightly (doesn’t look great), an ocularist can be of immense help by creating a piece that looks almost identical to their remaining eye. This helps patients to feel comfortable going about their day, and helps others to feel comfortable around them as well. Please read more about some misunderstandings surrounding scleral shells and artificial eyes here.
Another major side effect of eye injury is that people may have to adjust to partial or entire monocular vision. Adjusting to monocular vision is a difficult process, but one that is completely achievable. Patients need to become comfortable driving, walking, and interacting socially with vision from one eye. People may experience problems with depth perceptions or bump into walls that would have previously not been a problem — for this reason, it is extremely important to wear polycarbonate lenses in order to protect the remaining eye.
One way that patients frequently cope with the psychological ramifications of losing an eye is by making jokes. Eventually, the fact that the person has only one eye becomes as much a part of them as their hair color. We welcome you to come into our office to learn about this. Two of our staff members in the office of John Stolpe suffered eye loss themselves, but have overcome their trauma and are fully functional, adapted individuals (click here to see a testimonial by one of these staff members, JJ). We are confident that you can be as well.
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