The removal of an eye seems to be a drastic measure to most people. But people who require enucleation of an eye suffer from such things as a malignant tumor in or behind the eye, blind painful eye, or irreparable eye trauma. These conditions can be associated with chronic pain or may be life threatening, and enucleation can actually bring relief to patients who require it.
Eye injuries are the leading cause of vision loss in children. For adults in their later years, glaucoma, diabetes, and macular degeneration become the leading causes of blindness. These conditions can often come on quite suddenly, allowing little or no real time for adjustment. Sometimes they can come on gradually over a period of years causing progressive loss of vision, discomfort, or pain.
Many patients who require this surgery have no vision in the affected eye. Those persons who do have remaining vision realize that the removal of the affected eye will result in total loss of vision in that eye. All patients who undergo this procedure will require an artificial eye (ocular prosthesis) as a cosmetic substitute for their natural eye.
Today, there are very realistic looking and comfortable orbital implants and prosthetics available. At the time of enucleation, an orbital implant will be fit and covered with a clear conformer. Then, in about six to eight weeks after an enucleation, the patient is fit with a prosthetic or artificial eye by an ocularist. An ocularist is a technician specializing in custom prosthetic eyes that achieve the greatest degree of natural, cosmetic appearance.