People with good, but unsightly (not great looking) eyes, often prove reluctant to begin the process of getting an “artificial eye.” By far, the most common reason is that they believe they will need to have their eye removed. In the vast majority of cases, however, eye removal is totally unnecessary. We aren’t actually giving these patients an “artificial eye,” but rather an ocular prosthesis knows as a scleral shell that fits right over their eye, much like a contact lens.
With an ocular prosthesis, we protect the eye by not scratching the cornea. By putting clear corneas over the piece, we create an extremely realistic looking lens that patients can still see out of.
It is unfortunate that certain patients never hear this message, particularly when they don’t have insurance. These folks may experience an eye problem and be immediately enucleated (their entire eye is removed) or eviscerated (the center of the eye is removed). Eyes are removed when they don’t need to be because it’s often viewed as the most efficient treatment: there are no other chances of problems because the eye is gone. It is also the cheapest method of treatment because follow-up is unnecessary. Trying to save an eye can be costly, stressful and expensive in terms of money and time. But financial considerations aside, is eye removal the best thing for the patient, when an eye can be saved?
Fitting a prosthesis over an unsightly eye achieves much better motion than an enucleated or eviscerated eye. The most natural results and anatomical function, in many circumstances, are achieved when fitting an artificial eye directly over a live, unsightly eye.
To assist patients in bridging these gaps in understanding about what we do, the office of John Stolpe offers a free consultation to anybody who thinks they might need an artificial eye, ocular prosthesis or scleral shell. (Learn more about John here.) We can sit down, take a look at their condition, and tell them what’s possible.
It is no exaggeration to say that people who could benefit from our services are everywhere. We find it highly unfortunate that many of them don’t know how much we can help not only them, but others to feel more comfortable around them as well. The first step is to understand that there is truly no stigma to treating an unsightly eye, and the phrase “artificial eye” is a misnomer with incorrect connotations. Please think of our solution as a scleral shell or giant contact lens that looks realistically like a perfect, healthy eye. We hope to work with you soon to help you go about your day totally unnoticed.