An ocularist is an allied health professional trained in the fitting and fabricating of prosthetic eyes. A board certification (BCO) is the highest standard of certification and is provided by the National Examining Board of Ocularists. This is a requirement to practice ocularistry in most jurisdictions.
Ocularists are typically connected to a wide network of ophthalmologists, oculoplastic surgeons, pharmacists and family doctors, but it is important to note that Ocularists are not medical doctors and any concerns regarding the health of your eye socket should be addressed by a physician.
The frequency of cleaning of the artificial eye varies from person to person. Ideally, the patient will visit the ocularist twice a year for a cleaning of the prosthesis and an inspection of the socket. However, some individuals need more frequent care. The factors that can affect this are:
Work and seasonal climate environments
Some people prefer to remove and clean their prosthetics periodically using mild soap or baby shampoo with a warm water rinse. This is a recommended procedure for those who need more frequent care. However, patients should be aware of the risk of infection or contact allergies due to improper hygiene when handling the eye. So always wash your hands thoroughly before handling the eye.
A conventional prosthesis will usually be made over three appointments over the course of one day. Scleral shells may require further appointments, occasionally over two days. Typically, the first appointment lasts one hour and includes fitting the socket and painting the iris. There is a 1.5-hour break for the patient while lab work is done to prepare the device for the next appointment.
The second appointment consists of painting only and is typically 30 minutes. There is then more lab work to be done to prepare the final device. The final appointment consists of trying in the finished prosthesis and performing any final adjustments, this is typically 20-30 minutes. Standard appointment times are 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m.
It is recommended to replace the prosthesis every 5 years. This is because, over time, the prosthesis will absorb bodily fluids, and the plastics will begin to break down. This can lead to chronic irritation and infection. The prosthesis can be replaced earlier if there has been a change in the socket and the prosthesis no longer fits properly.
If you are a resident of Ontario, the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) will cover 75% of the cost of prosthetic devices and services. We work with various other insurance companies and government agencies to facilitate billing. Please call Heather to get an accurate idea of what your costs will be.