What is an ocularist?
An ocularist is a trained technician skilled in the arts of fitting, designing, and painting ocular prostheses. In addition to creating it, the ocularist shows the patient how to handle and care for the prosthesis, and provides long-term care through periodic examinations.
What certifications should I ask for when choosing an Ocularist?
When you choose your ocularist, any ocular prosthetic should be accompanied by the following:
-Certification of registration on the Manufacturers of custom made ocular prosthetics Registers of the National Organization for Medicines.
-Declaration of conformity- CE certification
-Attestation of conformity as per Decision No.1348/04 of the Greek Ministry for Health and Welfare. Scope: Trade and Distribution of Medical Devices in the field of Ophthalmology Surgery and Prosthetics.
-Custom Ocular Prosthetics Laboratory licence
-Certificate: Quality Management system as per ΙSO 9001: 2015 for the manufacture and distribution of ocular prosthetics
How long have artificial eyes been around?
Artificial eye-making has been practiced since ancient times. The first ocular prostheses were made by Roman and Egyptian priests as early as the fifth century B.C. In those days, artificial eyes were made of painted clay attached to cloth and worn outside the socket.
It took many centuries for the first in-socket artificial eyes to be developed. At first, these were made of gold with colored enamel. Then, in the later part of the sixteenth century, the Venetians started making artificial eyes out of glass. These early glass eyes were crude, uncomfortable to wear, and very fragile. Even so, the Venetians continued making them and kept their methods secret until the end of the eighteenth century. After that, the centre for artificial eye-making shifted to Paris for a time; but by the mid-nineteenth century, German glass-blowers had developed superior techniques, and the centre for glass eye-making moved to Germany.
Shortly thereafter, glass eye-making was introduced in the United States. During World War II, the imported German glass used for glass prostheses became unavailable in this country. As a result of this shortage, the U.S. Government, in conjunction with a number of American firms, popularized the techniques for making artificial eyes out of acrylic plastic.
The popularity of this method has continued to increase over the years, and today the vast majority of patients wear ocular prostheses made of acrylic.
What's the difference between "stock" and "custom" eyes?
“Stock” or “ready-made” ocular prostheses are mass-produced. Since a “stock eye” is not made for any particular person, it doesn’t fit any particular patient. A “custom” ocular prosthesis, on the other hand, is made by your ocularist to fit you and you alone, and can be altered in the future to follow the socket’s changes in order to ensure a perfect fit for the longest time possible.
Are there different qualities in custom ocular prostheses?
Yes there are. It is all related to the specific expertise, knowledge, continuous certified education, and specific lab processes.
What material is used in making the prosthetic?
Eye prosthetics are made with medical quality PMMA Acrylic. This is a bio-compatible material therefore allergies are highly unlikely.
How do I care for my prosthesis?
In order to remove any salt protein or discharge from the surface of the prosthesis, rinse it thoroughly with saline solution or hard contact lens solution and wipe it with a tissue. In order to wear it again, first apply some lubricant (on the whole surface) and put it back in your socket. The frequency of cleanings and/or decontamination is defined by each individual patient’s characteristics (e.g. Air quality, type of work, hygiene). Patients who have undergone enucleation or evisceration procedures cleaning and decontamination of the lens can be done every 3 to 4 weeks. Patients with microphthalmia or phthisical eye globe should clean it every time the prosthetic leaves the socket before it is reinserted. Never clean the prosthetic with alcohol or household cleaning products.
How do I insert or remove my prosthesis?
Inserting the prosthesis in the socket
1. When we are ready to insert the ocular prosthetic inside the socket, our hands and the suction cap must be clean and the prosthetic lubricated.
2. We pinch the suction cap so the air is removed and it is able to attach to the prosthesis. We apply the suction cap on the prosthesis and ensure that it is attached firmly.
3. While holding the suction cap with the attached prosthesis with our free hand we lift the upper eyelid and insert the upper part of the prosthesis underneath it. We then apply slight pressure so that the prosthesis is inserted correctly on the upper part of the socket. We then with our free hand pull down the lower eyelid allowing the lower part of the prosthesis to be inserted.
4. We simply pinch the suction cap that is still attached to the prosthesis, so that it can be detached without moving the prosthesis in the socket any further.
Removing the prosthesis from the socket
1. When we are ready to remove the prosthesis from our socket, our hands and the suction cap that will be used must be clean.
2. Pinching the suction cap firmly, we apply it on the surface of the prosthesis, taking care to avoid eyelashes so that the suction cap can attach correctly
3. After we ensure that the suction cap is attached, we pull down the lower eyelid and, while looking up, we pull the prosthesis down and out.
What is the youngest a child can be fitted?
This decision is made by your child’s ophthalmologist, who also prescribes the custom made ocular prosthetic. It is important to know that children should be followed-up on by their doctor, and having the correct ocular prosthetics fitted, so that there can be as much symmetry between the 2 sockets development.
How often do you have to see an ocularist?
The ocular prosthesis needs to be polished regularly in order to restore the acrylic finish and ensure the health of the surrounding tissues. It is generally recommended that infants under 3 years of age be seen every 3 months while all others every 6 to 12 months.
What kind of results can I expect?
Results vary from person to person and are dependent on factors such as age, type of surgery and implant, and general condition of the eye socket. However please discuss your anticipated results with your ocularist on your visit.
Will people notice that I have an artificial eye?
Patient results vary from case to case, however many people have artificial eyes and successfully conceal this from the public (and in some cases, even from close family and friends) Please share any concerns you have regarding the results of your prosthesis with your ocularist.
How can I achieve movement of the prosthesis?
A correctly fitted prosthetic will transfer the maximum amount of movement possible from the implant to the prosthesis. Movement is dependent on the implant used by your ophthalmologist and on the type of surgery performed.
Is the cost of the ocular prosthetic covered by the Greek National Health Service?
The Greek National Health Service includes ocular prosthetics on the list of artificial parts and provide an amount for compensation, if an electronic prescription by an ophthalmologist has been procured. The electronic prescription is given to us. You can contact the EOPYY for any further information
When can I replace my prosthesis through the Greek National Health Service?
Until 6 years of age, every 6 months.
Until 12 years of age, every year.
Until 18 years of age, every 2 years.
Adults, every 5 years.
What do I do if I have irritation, swelling, or pain?
If you are experiencing pain that is related to the prosthesis, please contact your Ocularist immediately. If you are experiencing general irritation, discharge, and discomfort with your eye socket please contact your ophthalmologist immediately.