Prosthetic Eye Irritation Concerns And How To Address Them

28 June 2018
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog


If you have recently lost an eye and choose to wear a prosthetic, then you likely want to make sure that the eye is as comfortable as possible. Once you get used to the prosthetic, some situations can cause irritation. Keep reading to learn about a few and how they can be resolved.

Partial Closure of Eyelid

In most cases, an artificial eye will need to be replaced on occasion due to the shrinkage of the socket. Both the soft tissues and the ocular bone will shrink, and the artificial eye will simply be too large for the socket. While this is a common problem, the eye may be too big as well. In this situation, the upper eyelid will often close partially over the prosthetic. A thick accumulation will then develop on the artificial eye. This is a protein buildup that accumulates from your natural tears, and it will cause an itching or general irritation when you are awake. 

To detect partial closure, simply closure your eyelids and use your fingers to feel if there is a ridge or slit between the upper and lower lid. If so, you should wash your prosthetic about once every one to two weeks. This is two times more cleaning than is generally recommended due to the buildup. 

Washing is best completed with warm water, a non-scented soap, and either your fingers or a piece of gauze. Sometimes a bit of hydrogen peroxide is needed to release stuck-on protein deposits. If you use peroxide or any type of soap, make sure to rinse the prosthetic completely with sterile water before inserting it. 

Since bacteria and other types of foreign debris can cause swelling that contributes to poor eyelid closure, use a suction cup to secure the eye back into place when you are done cleaning it. Always wash your hands before inserting the prosthetic as well. 

Gritty Sensations

You should understand that your artificial eye needs to be replaced about once every five years. This is necessary due to shrinkage of the socket as well as the wearing of the eye itself. Unfortunately, the eye will no longer retain its natural sheen after about five years, and this may make the prosthetic look unnatural. Also, your eye will develop a number of scratches on the surface. Not only can this cause a yellow tone to develop on the exterior, but it can also lead to a gritty sensation. 

Your ocular specialist will polish your eye on a regular basis to remove both scratches and excessive protein buildup. However, as the scratches deepen, this will no longer be an option, and a new eye must be created. So, when you feel an itchy or gritty sensation, speak with your ocular or prosthetic specialist to see whether a polishing or a replacement is required.

If you have recently had your eye polished or replaced, then the gritty feeling may be a sign of an infection. An increase in discharge, a red appearance around and behind the prosthetic, inflammation, and pain are some other signs of an infection. The typical treatment for this is antibiotic drops. Also, saline rinses may be helpful to flush the eye daily of discharge, bacteria, and foreign debris.

Grittiness may also be something that is associated with allergies or dry eyes, so lubricants may be suggested. Both water-based and silicone varieties are a good choice. Silicone lubricants tend to last longer, though, and can be utilized on a schedule of about once or twice a day. 

If you want to know more about prosthetic eyes and how you can manage discomfort issues, speak with a prosthetic specialist.