Use These Simple Tips to Extend the Life of Your Artificial Eye
Your prosthetic eye has become part of you. And just like you have to clean the rest of your body as part of keeping it healthy, your prosthesis needs to be cleaned regularly as well.
Regularly cleaning your prosthetic eye will prolong its life, reduce the chances of irritation or discomfort, and cut down on the production of mucous and proteins that stick to the surface. You will also decrease the likelihood of having to see the doctor because of an infection.
How often should you clean your artificial eye? Each person’s body reacts a bit differently to wearing a prosthesis, so it can vary, but we recommend once per month.
Here are seven cleaning habits for caring for your prosthetic eye.
1. Don’t Take It out Every Night
It’s simply not necessary to remove your prosthetic eye every night — as long as it is fitting comfortably, and is well-lubricated. If you take it out nightly, you’ll have to reset it every morning, adding another task to your daily routine.
And, you increase the chances of turning your eyelashes inward, irritating the socket, or weakening the tear film – the three layers of liquid that keep your eye lubricated. Lubrication is easier to maintain the more you can leave the prosthesis alone.
2. Clean Thoroughly with the Right Soap
First, wash your hands before you remove it.
Then, wash and gently scrub your prosthesis with your fingers using warm water and unscented, simple soap. The more additives and other chemicals in the soap you’re using, the more likelihood of damaging the surface of the eye.
Finally, rinse the prosthetic eye thoroughly. You do not want any soap at all to remain on the eye. Otherwise, when you re-insert it, your eye socket will sting.
3. Handle Your Prosthetic eye with Care While Cleaning
Move slowly while cleaning your artificial eye. You do not want to risk dropping and chipping it.
In fact, when you first remove the eye, it might pop out. So it’s a smart idea to put a towel on the counter below you, to catch it in case you drop it.
If you need help removing or replacing your prosthetic eye, use this quick care guide, which includes photos.
4. Store Your Prosthesis in A Safe Place
If for some reason you do need to leave your eye out for an extended period of time, do not let it sit out where it could be lost or in reach of pets.
Store it in a small container in a regular location if necessary to remove. And make sure the container is well-cleaned before using it for this purpose. It is not necessary for the prosthesis to be stored in water.
5. Respond Quickly to Increased Discharge
If your eye begins to produce more mucus or other discharge than is normal, you will want to clean your prosthesis more frequently to reduce the chances of an infection.
If you believe there is an infection, it is likely not caused by the prosthesis, but it will need to be taken care of. For this, you should see your primary care physician.
6. Do Not Use the Wrong Materials to Clean Your Prosthetic Eye
The wrong chemicals can permanently damage your artificial eye. You already read about the risks of using soaps that have all sorts of added chemicals and scents.
Here are some other cleaning materials to NEVER use on your prosthetic eye:
- Detergents or other abrasive cleaners
- Alcohol, including wipes
- Contact Lens Cleaning Products
Again, these can permanently damage your prosthesis. Stick to simple and preferably unscented soaps with warm water and nothing more.
7. Have Your Prosthesis Polished Regularly
Over time, your prosthetic eye will pick up protein, bacteria and mucosal buildup. We recommend coming in every 6 months to have it polished and resurfaced with your Ocularist. This will keep the surface smooth and free of discoloration, debris, or other minor flaws. This visit also allows your Ocularist to perform a socket examination to ensure your tissue is healthy and your prosthesis is fitting correctly.
By using these 7 simple habits to regularly clean your prosthetic eye, you will prolong its functionality and increase your quality of life.