When you lose an eye, it hurts psychologically. Loss of sight is a fearful thing to happen. However, after the fact is accepted, the disfigurement of the face hurts even more. Some so many one-eyed patients are troubled by their appearance.
Many myths about artificial eyes like goats eye or glass eye being fitted are common. The fact is it is a bio-compatible plastic material. These are made in bulk, and the Ocularist chooses the near matching colour and gives it off the shelf.
Though these eyes are economical, they have a concavity at the back, which leaves a gap between the soft tissues in the empty socket (or the leftover of the damaged eye) and the artificial eye.
This provides a space for the tear film’s natural discharge to accumulate behind the fake eye or the prosthesis. This is disturbing to the person wearing it as the discharge comes out and causes embarrassment. Cleaning has to be done each day for the eye and the socket.
Complete customization is now available, where the socket’s impression is taken using impression material. A wax eye is cast from this impression to check for the eye-opening, movement and centration. This eye is then sculpted for perfection. The wax eye is then used to make a mould from which the actual artificial eye is eventually made.
An iris button is painted using the reverse painting. This involves painting many layers of colour in reverse order at the back while seeing from the front. This gives depth to the artificial eye and allows the formation of the anterior chamber for that life-like feel.
The pre-painted iris button is then inserted into the mould and cured with white acrylic. The eye is then smoothened and inserted in the socket to check for movement centration and lid opening. This is modified as necessary.
Hand painting of scleral colours and insertion of fine woollen threads is done for the blood vessels. Iris colour is modified to look more like the original eye. Once a near-perfect match is achieved, this is cured with transparent acrylic to permanently seal the colour. This is then mirror-polished for that shine as the natural eye.
The advantages of full customization are:
- A good colour match.
- Better movement.
- Little or no discharge.
- No need to remove the eye for cleaning every day.
It’s a long process, which requires the patient’s patience and the Ocularist’s dedication, but results are most satisfying.