Basic Care and Frequently Asked Questions

Basic Care

-­A prosthesis should be polished at your ocularist’s office every 6 months to a year. You can determine your specific needs by speaking with your ocularist.

-­A prosthesis should be replaced every 5‑7 years. This is because the socket is constantly changing, just like everything else in our bodies, and the prosthesis will no longer fit properly. The plastic also begins to age around this time.

-­Typically the less you take your prosthesis in and out, the better. Most of our hands are not the cleanest and by handling the prosthesis more frequently, you risk the possibility of infection or other issues.

-­If the prosthesis must be taken out, wash your hands thoroughly beforehand. And make sure to put a paper towel over the sink drain and close the lid to the toilet.

-­A prosthesis, if needed, can be washed with baby shampoo. This way if any soap is left on the surface, it will not harm or cause irritation.

-­Sometimes secretions can build up on the front of the prosthesis, lids and lashes. Instead of removing the prosthesis, a warm moist washcloth can be applied for a few minutes to help loosen and remove the discharge.

-­Always rub the lids toward the nose. Wiping outward can cause the prosthesis to turn in the socket, or even dislodge and fall out.

-­If the prosthesis is out of position, it can often be adjusted without removal. Simply turn it gently with the fingertips.

-­Dryness is a common complaint, especially when exposed to dust, air conditioning, and severe temperature changes. This can make it difficult to blink and causes excess discharge. It is ok to use over the counter drops as needed. If you find that you are still having problems, do not hesitate to contact your ocularist.

-­Eyeglasses with unbreakable lenses are recommended for all patients. The glasses will protect your eyes and often enhance the overall appearance of the prosthesis.

-­If you swim, be cautious when jumping or diving into the water. The force of the water could cause the prosthesis to come out. Snorkeling goggles are a good precaution because they cover more of the face and are more secure than swimmers goggles. Neither chlorine nor seawater will harm the prosthesis.

Insertion and Removal

Removal: While looking up, press your index finger in and down on the edge of the lower eyelid next to the nose. Gently push your finger up under the bottom edge of the prosthesis. The edge of the eye will slide out from behind the lid. Keep pressing gently and move your finger towards the ear. This will cause the entire bottom edge of the prosthesis to come out. The rest of the eye will now easily drop down and slide out.

Insertion: Hold the prosthesis at the edges with the top up and the back of the Prosthesis toward you. The top is identified by the patient’s initials. With your free hand, raise the upper lid, and then slide the prosthesis up and back into the socket behind the eyelid. Hold the eye in place, gently maintaining an up and back pressure. Using the hand that was holding the upper eyelid, pull down on the lower eyelid. The prosthesis will slide into place behind the lower eyelid. Release the lower lid and the prosthesis should be in position.

Remember to relax, you cannot push the prosthesis too far in or hurt anything. The lids will hold the prosthesis in place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the prosthesis fall out on its own?

It is uncommon but it is not unheard of for the prosthesis to fall out. Typically this happens due to rubbing of the lids and prosthesis. This is why it is important to rub toward the nose. If you are having problems with the prosthesis falling out frequently, please contact your ocularist.

Does insurance cover ocular prosthetics? Does AOP accept insurance?

Most insurance plans have some coverage of prosthetics. However, the amount they will pay varies based on your insurance company and your individual plan. AOP does accept some insurance plans. Please see our insurance/payments page or for further information specific to you and your insurance plan, please contact Lynn at or (412) 787-7277.

How much does an ocular prosthesis cost?

The cost of a prosthesis varies greatly depending on each individual’s situation. For information on how much your prosthesis will cost, please call the office to schedule a free consultation.

What is a scleral cover shell? How is it different from a regular ocular prosthesis?

Scleral cover shells are for patients who still have an eye present. Most often the eye is smaller than normal and blind. The scleral cover shell covers the eye, protecting it and often making it more comfortable. It also fills in the excess space left by its diminished size. A regular ocular prosthesis is for a socket where the eye has been completely removed.

Is there anything I can’t do with only one eye?

To the best of our knowledge the only things one can’t do with vision in one eye is to join the military or get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). All other activities, including sports, driving a normal vehicle, and pursuing all careers are available to persons with monocular vision.