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How to Tell When You Need to Replace Your Prosthetic Eye

child with artificial eye

7 Indications You Might Need a New Prosthetic Eye

With proper and ongoing care, you should be able to go about five years without needing to replace your prosthetic eye. However, the time will come when everyone with a prosthesis will need to get a new one.

Before we get to the telltale signs that it may be time to replace yours, bear in mind that by cleaning and taking care of your prosthesis and having it polished every six months, you will extend the useful life of it. Many of the signs listed below that you need a new prosthetic eye are the same indicators that it’s time to polish it.

Here are more tips about caring for your prosthetic eye

At some point, polishing will no longer be enough, and your ocularist will be able to tell when your polishing has gone as far as it can go and that replacement is the next step. But you will have an idea when that time has arrived by reading through the list below.

Here are seven indications it is time to replace your prosthetic eye:

1. Increased Drainage from Your Eye Socket

Drainage from the eye, also described as mucus, can be caused by several factors, even for people without a prosthesis.

But for those with a prosthetic eye, excessive drainage is a telltale sign that something needs to be done. If you have had your ocularist polish it consistently, but the drainage keeps coming back, it may be time to have a new prosthetic eye created.

2. Changes in Appearance

As you age, the shapes of your face and eyes change too. A prosthetic eye that fit perfectly five or ten years ago may no longer fits as well. A poor fit is one possible cause of drainage. Very often, there isn’t anything wrong with your eye socket or the prosthesis. It is simply a matter of natural changes happening as you age, and you just need a new one.

For a child with a prosthesis, this is obvious. They are growing, and their eye sockets are growing and changing with them. Children therefore need to replace their prosthetic eyes more often than the five years recommended for adults.

3. Your Prosthesis Spins Too Easily

A prosthetic eye that fits properly should be relatively stable and should stay in place. When it no longer fits as well, some people find they can move it around or spin it more than used to be possible. This is an indication you need to replace your prosthetic eye.

4. Dryness or Discomfort in Your Eye Socket

When you first get a new prosthesis created and inserted into your eye socket, it should be so comfortable that you barely notice it. It should be held in place securely and comfortably.

But after some time has passed, if you feel increasing discomfort, itchiness, or dryness, something isn’t working as well. As mentioned earlier, this is also a sign that you need to get it polished. If it’s been more than six months since a polish, try that first before talking about replacing your prosthesis.

But if it has only been a couple months since your last polish, and you have noted this discomfort not long after previous polishes, the prosthesis may be in need of replacement.

5. Recurring Eye Infections

A well-fit, lubricated, polished, cared-for prosthesis should not cause any infections in your eye. So if you are finding yourself continually battling infections, your prosthetic eye may be nearing the end of its useful life.

6. Droopiness of Eyelids

If you’ve noticed your eyelids drooping and can’t seem to control them, this is another sign of a prosthesis wearing out its welcome.

When it fits right, your eyelids fit around your prosthesis, just like they do a natural eye. When it no longer fits properly, your eyelids can lose some of their normal function.

7. The Material Wears Out

Artificial eyes are made of a very durable acrylic polymer. But with near constant exposure to everything your body can throw at it like proteins, mucus, tears, bacteria, and other drainage, combined with the settlement of your tissue, effects of other bodily illnesses, and whatever happens to be floating around in the air, your prosthesis takes a beating.

Eventually, all materials begin to wear and tear, and the materials that comprise your prosthetic eye are no different.

Your Next Steps?

If you haven’t been cleaning and caring for your prosthetic eye, you need to establish a consistent routine, starting today. Here’s a helpful guide on how to clean and care for your prosthetic eye.

If you have been taking good care of it but are experiencing many of the symptoms in this article, the next question is, when was your last polish? Again, we recommend a polish every six months. If you’ve been avoiding that for much longer and want Northwest Eye Design to do a polish, schedule an appointment today.

Lastly, if you’ve been taking good care of your prosthetic eye and have been getting it polished but are still experiencing the above symptoms, it may be time to replace it, even if it has been less than five years since you had it made.