An artificial eye (sometimes called a glass eye or artificial lens by patients) or ocular prosthesis is manufactured to replace an eye that has been lost to blindness, illness or injury.
Over the years ocular prostheses have been made from many different materials including glass but today we have superior materials available and the artificial eye is made from a medical grade acrylic. An artificial eye is fitted by an Ocularist. The Ocularists at Eyes Alive are registered with OASA (the Ocularists Association of Southern Africa) the professional body mandated to manage all Ocularistry related matters in South Africa.
An Ocularist also manufactures and fits a large, lens like, object that fits over the blinded phthysical eye and this is termed a scleral shell or a haptic shell. The term lens is technically referring to a contact lens or a scleral lens for a sighted eye and those would be fitted by an Optometrist.
Our patients who wear a scleral shell over their blind eye need to remove the eye prosthesis when sleeping. Don’t put the eye prosthesis into a tissue overnight, we have our fair share of stories about the tissue being thrown away or flushed down the loo by the patient or family members before they realise the eye prosthesis is in the tissue.
An Ocularist is an eye-care professional whose primary focus is the manufacturing and fitting of ocular prostheses or artificial eyes over a blinded eye or when one or both eyes have been removed surgically.
The manufacturing process an Ocularist follows involves taking an impression of the eye socket, moulding a model or clear shell, adding an iris and veins by hand-painting the clear shell, and then fitting the artificial eye or scleral shell for the patient.
We also provide the service of educating our patients on the care of the eye prosthesis. It is also the role of the Ocularist to build a relationship with our patients through long-term patient care.