Having your eye removed, whether following an accident or illness, is sure to be one of the most trying experiences of your life. After the eye has been removed, however, you have another big decision to face. Should you get a prosthetic eye? Most patients do choose to have their missing eye replaced with a prosthesis, but there are some that decide to just keep a patch over their missing eye indefinitely. If you are tight on funds and a prosthesis is not covered by your insurance plan, you might be tempted to go this route. But you may want to second-guess that approach. Here are four reasons it's worthwhile to get a prosthetic eye following enucleation.
1. A prosthesis preserves eyelid function.
Your surgeon will likely recommend waiting a few weeks after surgery to have a prosthesis put into place. At this point, you will be shown how to work the prosthesis beneath your eyelid tissue. You may have trouble opening and closing your eyelids at first since they have not been used for a few weeks, but you should be able to recover the muscular strength to do so. On the other hand, if you were to not get a prosthesis, you might not gain back this control over your eyelids. They can begin to droop more and more as the muscles controlling them lose tone.
If you were to decide to get a prosthetic eye later on, you would struggle more with a drooping eyelid—and it may never begin functioning properly again. So, replacing the eye ASAP is the best approach.
2. Your socket will maintain its shape.
The natural eye puts some—though not a lot—of pressure on your eye socket, helping to preserve its size and shape. This plays a role in determining the shape of the rest of your face. A prosthetic eye can exert this same pressure, similarly keeping the eye socket in shape. Without a prosthetic eye, however, your socket may start to slightly change shape. Even a tiny change can alter your facial structure and make your face look asymmetrical after several years.
3. You'll experience better self-esteem.
Your eyes are one of the body parts that make you who you are. People look into your eyes and think of them as the embodiment of what you are. No matter how much you remind yourself that you are the same person after losing an eye, every time someone looks at you strangely because you are missing an eye, it is going to be difficult. Today's prosthetic eyes are made from acrylic plastic and look almost exactly like natural eyes. Most people who look at you are not going to know the difference. So, with a prosthetic eye, you will be able to confidently navigate social situations just like you did before losing an eye. This will keep your self-esteem up, which will benefit you socially and professionally.
4. You won't have to deal with prying questions.
Ask anyone who has been missing an eye for more than a week, and they will tell you—the question that are most tired of answering is "how did you lose your eye?" "What's wrong with your eye?" is a close second for those who wear eye patches. Answering these questions again and again gets boring and annoying. With a prosthetic eye, you don't have to worry about responding to questions since most people will have no idea there's anything different about you.
To learn more about prosthetic eyes and their benefits, contact a company like Real Life Faces. If you can find a way to afford a prosthesis, it is definitely worthwhile.