Prosthetic Eyes

At Frederick Swain Optometrists we pride ourselves on creating an artificial eye as natural looking to match the good eye.  This involves identifying the correct lid shape, aperture and iris colour.  An artificial eye is a replacement for a natural eye lost because of injury or disease.  Although the replacement cannot provide sight, it fills the cavity of the eye socket and serves as a cosmetic enhancement.

We make two types of prosthetic eyes made from acrylic material:

  • An artificial eye is made when the damaged eye has been removed.
  • A cosmetic scleral for a blind discoloured or damaged eye which covers the eye completely.

Today, most artificial eyes are made of plastic, with an average life of about 10 years.  Children require more frequent replacement of the prosthesis due to facial growth changes.

In most cases there will be funding available for this procedure.


Making and Fitting of an Artificial Eye

The artificial eye process normally commences three months following surgery, giving the socket sufficient time to heal.  The client will usually be referred by an Ophthalmologist.

A minimum of four appointments are necessary to make an artificial eye usually in one week if suitable with the client.  Occasionally extra appointments may be required.


Day 1 –  Impression and Painting of the Iris

An impression is taken of the socket using Alginate paste.

The iris is hand painted to match the colour of the existing eye.


Day 2 –  Shell Fitting and Pupil Positioning

A mould is made from the impression and a clear plastic shell produced.  The shell is adjusted if necessary to match the shape and lid aperture of the existing eye.  The pupil is positioned.

The iris is trimmed and assembled with the scheral (white of the eye) plastic to form the eye.


Day 3 –  Eye Fitting and Sclera Matching

The artificial eye is fitted and checked for comfort and pupil position.  The sclera and blood vessels are matched with the existing eye and any extra detail added to the iris.


Day 4 –  Completion

Generally the eye is completed on the fourth day.  The client will be shown cleaning techniques and how to insert and remove the artificial eye.

The eye is reviewed after 3 months.  Annual polishing is recommended.


Making of a Cosmetic Scleral Shell

The making of a cosmetic scleral follows the general format for the making of an artificial eye but requires trialling of a clear shell prior to making.  It may be necessary to repeat the trialling stage to ensure maximum comfort and increase wearing time.

This procedure is done in conjunction with an Optometrist in order to monitor the health and comfort of the eye.