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Artificial Eye Questions

These are some common questions that are asked about getting a prosthetic eye. Please reach out to us if you have any additional artificial eye questions! You can reach us at 1-425-823-1861 or contact us.

How is the prosthetic eye held in?

A prosthetic eye is held in place by the eyelids and appropriate contours on the back side of the prosthesis.

Do ocular prosthetics move?

Yes, most prosthetics move. The two biggest factors are the movement of the tissue in the anophthalmic socket and the fit of the prosthesis.

Does health insurance cover ocular prosthetics?

Most insurance plans cover new and replacement prosthetic eyes and scleral shells, twice yearly polishes and adjustments. We work with all insurance plans, including Medicare, Medicaid, Kaiser, Premera BlueCross, Regence, AETNA, DSHS, Guardian, First Choice, Secure Horizons, Veterans Affairs and many HMO’s. Please call us at  1-888-583-7780 or contact us if you have a question about coverage, authorizations, or referrals. In most cases, we can get the process started for you!

How long does it take to make an ocular prosthesis?

It usually takes 4-5 appointments to complete the design process. This can span over 1-2 weeks, depending on your schedule.

How long does an ocular prosthesis last?

Typically, a prosthetic eye lasts about 5 years before it needs to be replaced. Tissue changes in the socket, anatomical growth, and breakdown of the acrylic are the primary reasons for replacement. Due to anatomical growth, prosthetics in children tend to last 3-4 years before requiring replacement.

How often should a prosthetic eye be polished?

We recommend a polish every 6 months for most patients. This visit allows us to remove the built-up protein, bacteria and scratches on the prosthetic surface. We also examine the fit of the prosthesis and the condition of your tissue and eyelids.

Prosthetic eyes also require at-home care.  See our recommended prosthetic eye cleaner.

Is a prosthetic eye or scleral shell cosmetic?

The purpose of a prosthetic eye and scleral shell is to return the eye socket to normal volume, eyelid function and lacrimal function. Since they are medically necessary, ocular prosthetics are covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.

My child was born with microphthalmia, is an ocular prosthesis necessary?

A scleral shell can help the proper development of the facial structures by adding necessary volume and pressure. The presence of the scleral shell helps the eyelids, fissure opening, and orbital tissues grow and maintain appropriate size and shape.

Can I wear an eyepatch as my eye heals?

It is possible to wear an eye patch during this healing period. If you choose to do so, please consider a mesh patch to allow proper air-flow and promote the reduction of swelling. Our shop has some great eye patch options.

Other options include putting a couple layers of scotch tape or paper tape on your eyeglass lens, an eyepatch bandage or gauze.  Check out our custom eye patch design page for more information.

What are other names for a prosthetic eye?

Ocular prosthesis, artificial eye, fake eye, acrylic eye, glass eye

What is the history of prosthetic eyes?

Prior to World War II, ocular prosthetics were made of specialized blown-glass that collapsed to form a concave shape. During and after World War II this glass became increasing difficult to obtain. Soon, acrylic and other plastic polymers were used for many of the uses previously exclusive to glass. An exciting use of this new material was for prosthetic eyes or ocular prosthetics. Acrylic revolutionized the art and process of making artificial eyes. In comparison to glass, acrylic provided a more natural appearance, better fit and improved comfort. Glass prosthetic eyes frequently needed replacing and broke easily. Acrylic improved the techniques for making prosthetic eyes such as impression molding, blending and allowed for easier changes in shape, color or size of an ocular prosthesis.

What is the history of Northwest Eye Design?

Northwest Eye Design comes from a long history of eye makers in the Pacific Northwest stretching back nearly 75 years! In 2018, Northwest Eye Design changed its name from Erickson Labs Northwest to provide a better description of who we are and what we do. Our office traces its roots back to Charlie Erickson who founded Erickson Laboratories in Seattle Washington on May 1, 1944. Both Charlie and his brother Jack were pioneers in the field of ocular prosthetics.

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