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Ocular Prosthesis and Children

Losing an eye or having to have an ocular prosthesis fitted due to a diseased eye is traumatic for anyone but for children it can be ten times worse.  The not knowing what is happening to them can be especially frightening and then added to this, is also seeing the trauma of the parents whilst all this is happening to them.  The only way to lessen this trauma in both cases is to have as much knowledge at hand as you can on the why's and wherefore's of the treatment and processes involved in receiving a prosthetic  eye.  Children need to see the confidence of their parents so they can feel their own confidence  and be secure  in the knowledge that everything is  going to be fine.

Children born with a diseased eye as in the case of microphthalmos will initially be fitted with haptic scleral shells, an acrylic shell which helps enlarge the eyelid margins before a prosthetic eye is fitted.

Because children are growing all the time, plastic conformers can also be placed in the eye socket to hold the shape of the socket and help repair any deformity to the bony structure of the socket and create the space for the prosthetic eye. This process can take from 3 months to 3 years depending on the severity of the disease and the amount of times  the plastic conformers are changed.

An eye that has been lost due to trauma can be fitted with a prosthesis 4 - 6 weeks after any operation that had to be undertaken.

Before a prosthetic eye is fitted in a child an evaluation has to be done to find out the extent of the trauma they have suffered and can be still going through.

An impression of the eye socket has to be taken and although this is not a painful operation the child has to be relaxed.  If this relaxation is not possible then the child may have to be anesthetised for a short time which will be done in a local hospital under supervision.  A child who has to have a prosthesis must be  referred by a pediatric opthamologist to an ocularist to receive any health care insurance that may be due.

Children can adapt quite quickly to monocular vision and being able to manage a prosthetic  eye, in many cases better than an adult undergoing the same adjustments.  Printed hygiene notes or pictures should be available  to help make this adaptation easier and less confusing.

Very young children have been known to take the eyes out and chew on them, so a careful watch must be given to these children.  It is not very common that children have choked on an eye but if indeed this happens a knowledge of the Heimlich manoever would be advisable.  Should an eye go missing, when changing nappies an inspection as to the contents would also be a good idea..

At every stage of receiving a prosthetic eye or haptic scleral shell, there is help available. This help is there for anyone undergoing this treatment to lessen the trauma involved in this process and also help take away any problems with the maintenance and care of your beautiful new eye.  Being well informed in this  experience will help you live and accept your life to be as normal as everyone elses

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