Prosthesis Useful Life

Gradual physical changes in the eye socket tissues and natural deterioration of the plastic and pigments will necessitate a new prosthesis at intervals. It is often the obligation of the ophthalmologist or ocularist to inform you of this fact.

The acrylic prosthesis should be replaced as needed to maintain a healthy socket and satisfactory cosmetic appearance. The lifetime of a plastic eye will vary with each patient and the chemistry of the socket. Five years is the average useful life, however many patients are able to go for longer periods with no problem.

If the artificial eye is three or more years old, it should be evaluated for proper size, alignment and color. The surface should be examined for roughness and delamination. Delamination commonly occurs at the edge, or around the iris.

It appears as a fine, dark line that progressively develops into complete separation as the plastic fatigues. This is often the cause of eyelid irritation and increased secretion from the socket.

Delamination may also occur in the pigment layers and may appear as a "cataract" in the pupil, or as a silvery reflection in the region of the iris. Changes may also occur in the pigments themselves; the colors become either lighter or darker, or more commonly,  develop a bleached, yellowish tint with brown spots.

Because the deterioration of the prosthesis is gradual, you may not be aware of the possible serious consequences of these changes. If physical damage to the socket has occurred from irritation by a deteriorating prosthesis,  it may become impossible to provide the wearer with the good cosmetic effect he once enjoyed. Therefore, it behooves you to have your prosthesis checked periodically and your socket examined to prevent unnecessary problems.  Most ocularists recommend that you have your prosthesis checked every six to twelve months.

It is important to realize that your prosthesis
is subject to wear and does have a limited healthy life span.