An ocular prosthesis, or artificial eye, is used to replace an absent natural eye. It is composed of two parts: the round orbital implant, which is not visible, and the prosthesis, which looks like the natural eye. The prosthesis is a convex shell that is supported by the orbital implant. It is usually made of plastic (acrylic) and is designed to give the eye and surrounding tissues a more natural appearance.
An ocular prosthesis does not provide vision. This procedure is performed on those who have monocular (one sided) vision following an enucleation, evisceration, or orbital exenteration.
Custom artificial eyes are hand-crafted by highly skilled ocularists to precisely match the look of the natural eye. While artificial eyes have been made for thousands of years, the first orbital implants were developed about 100 years ago.
A remarkable similarity was noticed between the porous structure of southern ocean coral species and that of human bone. Soon after this discovery, a method was developed to modify the mineral in coral to match that of human bone, known as hydroxyapatite (abbreviated HA).
Dr. Cole use the Bio-Eye® Hydroxyapatite Orbital Implant, a unique, patented implant released by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1989. The eye muscles can be attached directly to this implant, allowing it to move within the orbit just like a natural eye.