Although a prosthetic eye cannot restore your vision, it can restore the aesthetics of your appearance and reduce some of the stress of missing an eye. Since your prosthetic eye will essentially become a permanent part of your body, here are three things you want to avoid doing to ensure the device lasts a long time as well as keep your good eye healthy.
Take It Out for Long Periods of Time
Your prosthetic eye is designed to be worn all the time, even overnight when you sleep. However, it's understandable that sometimes you will want to take it out to clean or give your eye socket a rest. While it's okay to remove the prosthesis for a short time, it's important to avoid leaving it out for too long.
In addition to improving your appearance, your prosthetic eye performs the important function of helping your eye socket retain its shape and size. The body is infamous for reclaiming spaces and tissues that are not being used. Thus, it's not unusual for an eye socket to collapse and/or deform after the eye is removed and nothing is put in its place. This can result in the need for a smaller eye, which may not look as great.
Additionally, without the prosthesis, your eye lids would sink inward and aggravate the interior tissues, increasing the chance of infection. And the last thing you want to deal with is an infected eye socket.
If you want to remove your prosthetic eye because it's uncomfortable, talk to your ocularist about getting the piece adjusted to reduce the discomfort.
People who require vision correction in their remaining eyes always ask whether it's okay to wear contacts. Contact lenses are generally safe to use, as long as a person get the right prescription and follows directions when putting them in and caring for them. However, it's generally recommended that people who are already missing one eye avoid wearing contacts.
The goal after removing one eye is to protect the remaining eye at all costs. While safe, contact lenses do increase the chances of getting an eye infection. You risk being completely blinded for a while if you contract conjunctivitis or another eye disease or losing the eye altogether if the contact does significant damage to the cornea.
It's probably okay to wear contacts every once infrequently for special occasions. For your everyday vision needs, though, it's best to wear impact-resistant glasses that will protect your eye from harm. Also, when playing any type of sport where there's a high chance of eye injury, wear sports shades.
Subject It to Quick Temperature Changes
Although prosthetic eyes are colloquially referred to as glass eyes, they are generally made from an acrylic material that's compatible with eye tissues. While much safer and durable than glass, eyes made from this material can still suffer damage if they're handled carefully.
One common way people damage their prosthetic eyes is by continuously subjecting it to quick temperature changes. For instance, they may take hot showers and then jump into a cold pool right afterwards or stand outside in 90-degree weather then get into a car and blast subzero conditioned air into their face.
All materials, even biological ones (e.g. skin), will expand in the heat and contract in the cold. It's not a big deal when the change between temperatures is gradual, but a sudden shift can result in warping, cracking, or similar damage to your prosthetic eye. Be mindful when moving between areas where the temperature changes and try to protect it as much as possible (e.g. wear an eyepatch when necessary).
For more information on living with a prosthetic eye or to have one made for you, contact an eye doctor in your area. You can also contact companies like Real Life Faces.
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