Rarely, patients may experience the challenges below. Remember to consult with your ophthalmologist when appropriate.
Blepharitis is a condition caused by allergy or infection that can result in inflammation and/or redness, swelling and itchiness of the eyelids. In some chronic cases there can also be dandruff or scaly skin of the eyelids.
Washing 2x a day with baby shampoo can be helpful and a warm compress can be soothing. For more persistent cases your ophthalmologist can prescribe or recommend a prescription.
GPC-Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis
GPC is a condition thought to be caused by an allergy of ones’ own protein build up on the surface of the ocular prosthesis. It can result in inflammation of the conjunctiva. Raised papillae can be seen on the underside (Conjunctiva) of the eyelid and be accompanied by itchiness and heavy mucous discharge.
Having your ocular prosthesis polished on a regular basis and replaced around the 5 year guideline can help. For more persistent cases your Ophthalmologist can prescribe a prescription for your artificial eye side. Some artificial eye wearers have found relief with a dual prescription of an antihistamine and steroid. A warm compress can be a soothing and gentle way to keep the eyelid and eyelash area clean from the mucous discharge or mattering.
Itchy feeling eye
Over the counter Allergy eye drops can be helpful in the case of an itchy feeling eye socket. Check with your Ophthalmologist to see if this is a good option for you on your artificial eye side.
Dry eye syndrome
Some artificial eye wearers can experience a dry eye feeling that is more pronounced on the artificial eye side. Finding a lubrication that works best for you may be important in the overall comfort of wearing an artificial eye. Read on in the tear film and lubrication section for more information.
The Tear Film
The tear film is made up of 3 layers, the mucous layer, the aqueous layer, and the lipid layer. The layer coating the surface of the eyeball is the hydrophilic mucous layer that helps to evenly distribute the tear film. The middle, aqueous layer promotes spreading of the tear film and helps protect the eye from infection. The outer most layer is the lipid layer and it provides a hydrophobic barrier and prevents rapid evaporation of the tear film. Because the tear film in an artificial eye wearer is coating the hydrophobic surface of the ocular prosthesis instead of a real eyeball, the lids are more sensitive to blinking over this prosthetic surface.
Lubrications become important to help the lids function if you are lacking in one or more of these layers. Different lubrications work to resolve each layer differently which is why some lubrications work better than others for each individual. Because of this, you may need to try different lubrications to find out which works best for you.
A variety of lubricants are available in many drug stores that come in a low to medium viscosity. It is important for each individual to find which works best for the needs of their eye socket, prosthetic fit and medical circumstances. Variables such as lid function, work environment and/or exposure to extreme heat or cold will also effect tear production and frequency of application of lubricant. A good starting point is to look for an eye drop that says, eye lubricant with no preservatives. It needs to be viscous enough to stay on the surface of the ocular prosthesis to provide relief to the eye lids. There are many on the market with varying consistencies. If you are interested in a more comprehensive list, we are happy to help you as there are so many on the market. A couple of examples are: Ocusoft Retain MGD & Refresh celluvisc lubricant eye gel.
For those experiencing severe dryness, we suggest the silicone or natural oil based products. We carry these oils in our office for purchase as they are made specifically for ocular prostheses and are not found in drug stores. These products are OIL BASED Lubricants.
Sil-Ophtho or Sil-Ophtho “H” (Heavy) hansenlab.com 319-338-1285
Ocu-Sil ocu-sil.com 1-888-628-7455 (1-888-OCU-SIL5)
Strauss Artificial Eye Lubricant