What is Anophthalmos?
Anophthalmos is the name for a very rare genetic defect that causes one or both of the eyes to be malformed to the extent that they are absent. In that case, an artificial eye can be placed in the eye socket of the missing eye. Sight cannot be restored, but normal appearance can be regained. If you suffer from Anophthalmos, you may be an excellent candidate for an artificial eye implant in St. Louis. (If you have lost an eye due to disease or an injury, please see Loss of an Eye.)
Artificial eyes, also called prosthetic eyes, can be made of various materials, such as glass, silicone, or hydroxyapatite, which is a substance found in bones. These prosthetics look remarkably normal, so once surgery is complete, most people can’t tell that you have an artificial eye. These prosthetics can even move within the eye socket much like a normal eye.
The eye socket usually must be prepared before the artificial eye can be placed. This may involve an initial surgery to remove some tissue from the socket. A temporary implant may be placed at that time in order to properly prepare the socket for the artificial eye.
After another two months or so, you will be ready for your artificial eye, which is custom-made based on a mold of your eye socket. This assures that it will fit properly and match your other eye. The custom-made prosthetic may take as many as three months to create, however.
You will be given a general anesthetic for this procedure, which means that you will be fully asleep and under a ventilator.
Recovery from Anophthalmos Surgery
Dressings are applied to the eyes for about three days after each surgery, and you will be given antibiotics and anti-inflammatory/pain medications. Your dressings will be removed in about a week.
After your artificial eye surgery, you should return to our office annually for maintenance of the prosthetic. Salt and protein deposits collect over time and must be removed. You may not need to remove the eye yourself for cleaning, but you may find that regular use of eye drops is more comfortable for you, as artificial eyes can sometimes create a “dry eye” condition.
This surgery is very safe, but infection is the most common complication. This is why you will be automatically given antibiotics afterward.
Schedule a Consultation
Call our office today at 314-567-3567 for a consultation if you or your child has Anophthalmos.