What is enucleation or evisceration?
Removal of an eye, by evisceration or enucleation, is often necessary due to injury, tumor, or disease. Patients can develop a blind painful eye after injury, surgery, or diseases such as glaucoma or diabetes or retinal problems. Patients with ocular tumors such as melanoma may require removal of the eye. The loss of an eye is significant and often a tough time for a patient. A prosthetic eye can often replace a nonfunctioning eye, look very natural, and movement can usually be maintained. Though people can wear a prosthetic eye for several years without complications, some side effects may need surgical and medical attention. Poor fit of the prosthesis, sagging of the eyelids, loss of shape of the eye socket, or migration or infection of the implant may require revision or replacement.
What is the surgery for eye removal?
Surgery may entail removing the entire eye called enucleation or removing the inside contents of the eye and leaving the outer lining of the eye called evisceration. Surgery to remove the eye is typically an outpatient procedure and usually lasts about an hour. The patient is often under general anesthesia, and the eye is removed and replaced with an orbital implant to add volume to the socket and improve the fitting of an ocular prosthesis. Patients usually take postoperative pain and nausea medicine to minimize those side effects. Some patients choose to stay n the hospital for pain or nausea control for 1-2 days. A patient who has had an ocular prosthesis but who already has a poorly fitting prosthesis due to sagging of the eyelid or scar tissue of the socket may be improved with eyelid procedures.
Pictured: Left eye enucleation with prosthesis Post-operation.
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When would I get my prosthetic eye?
Once healed after about a month following orbital or eyelid surgery, the patient will be referred to the ocularist who will fit or create a beautiful artificial eye that has a realistic appearance. Usually, the final results are aesthetically pleasing to the patient.