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Natural Movement for the Artificial Eye

Woman with Bio-eye Ocular Implant after secondary implantaionWoman with Bio-eye Hydroxyapatite Orbital Implant after secondary implantation.

Only you know the challenge
If you wear an artificial eye, you know the challenge of adjusting to monocular (single-eye) vision, as well as the hope of maintaining a natural appearance through the best medical technology available to you.

Unfortunately, even the best medical technology of the past could not always provide an artificial eye that matched the look and movement of your natural eye. Many patients enjoyed a good initial appearance following their surgery, only to be disappointed by problems that appeared later. These problems include: loss of eye movement, migration (implant drifting), and extrusion (implantrejection).

Today, thanks to a remarkable new orbital implant, it is possible to create more natural movement for your artificial eye while also giving it better support.

Consult your ocularist or ophthalmologist. (26K JPEG)
Read the following information carefully. Then consult your ocularist or ophthalmologist to determine whether you could benefit from this exciting new technology.

Your artificial eye and orbital implant
When your eye was removed, an orbital implant was probably used to replace the area in the orbit that was occupied by the eye (Fig. 1). This small, spherical implant was intended to maintain the natural structure of the orbit and support your artificial eye. The implant itself is not visible, but instead sits under a layer of tissue beneath your artificial eye.

Figure 1. Traditional implant and artificial eye. (24K JPEG)

Your artificial eye is the only visible part of the surgical changes to the socket. The most natural-looking and best-fitting artificial eyes are hand-crafted by highly skilled ocularists (eye makers) to precisely match the look of your natural eye.

Natural movement: a goal for over 100 years
Almost as soon as the first orbital implant was created over 100 years ago, ophthalmologists and ocularists recognized the need for improvement. Four problems were identified early on:

  1. poor movement of the artificial eye due to lack of a connection between the eye and the implant (Fig. 2),
  2. drooping of the lower lid due to pressure from the artificial eye (Fig.4),
  3. rejection of the implant by the tissues of the orbit-now known as a "foreign body" response
  4. migration (drifting) of the implant.

Figure 2. Poor eye movement, a common problem with traditional orbital implants. (34K JPEG)

To overcome these problems, especially the lack of movement, literally dozens of implant shapes were tested. But none of these designs-some extremely creative-could eliminate the problems that detracted from a natural appearance.

Finally it was recognized that the problems arose not from the shape of these implants, but rather from the very material from which they were made. Thus began the search for a new, fundamentally different materia lfrom which to create a new generation of orbital implants.

Hydroxyapatite: the natural choice

Figure 3. Magnified views of bone (left) and hydroxyapatite (right). (43K JPEG) (26K JPEG)

The goal of a more natural appearance was finally achieved with the help of a natural material: ocean coral. A remarkable similarity was discovered between the porous structure of coral and that of human bone (Fig. 3). A method was soon developed to transform the mineral in coral to match that of human bone, known as hydroxyapatite. This new, naturally derived material matches both the porous structure and the chemical structure of bone. Thus, the tissues of the body will accept-even grow into-these naturally derived hydroxyapatite implants, and essentially become a "living" part of the body.

The Bio-eye Hydroxyapatite Orbital Implant
This unique, patented implant has gained rapid acceptance since its introduction. In fact, the benefits of natural movement and fewer long-term problems have made the Bio-eye Hydroxyapatite Orbital Implant the implant of choice among leading eye surgeons worldwide.

You may be a candidate
You may be a candidate for the Bio-eye Hydroxyapatite Orbital Implant if you are experiencing one of the following problems:

  • your artificial eye moves poorly,
  • your artificial eye rests in an unnatural position,
  • your lower eyelid droops (Fig. 4),
  • your orbital implant has migrated, or
  • your orbital implant is exposed.

Figure 4. Lower lid drooping due to lack of support for the artificial eye. (26K JPEG)

Working together, your ophthalmologist and ocularist can help determine whether you could benefit from this new implant, which will depend on the condition of your orbit, muscles, and surrounding tissues.

The procedure
The Bio-eye orbital implant is implanted surgically, under local or general anesthesia. In this procedure, your existing implant is removed and is replaced with a Bio-eye orbital implant. The muscles are then attached to the implant and the tissues of the orbit are closed over it. A temporary conformer is placed over these tissues and under the eyelids, to maintain a space for the artificial eye, and the socket is temporarily patched. After the swelling has subsided (6-8 weeks), you are ready to visit your ocularist, who will make a new artificial eye that precisely matches the shape of your socket and the color of your natural eye.

In some cases, the movement of the artificial eye is satisfactory at this point. However, you may also request a simple, additional procedure which is designed to maximize your eye movement and to prevent later problems, such as drooping of the lower lid. In this optional procedure, a hole is placed into the implant and a peg is inserted into the hole. Your ocularist then modifies the back of the artificial eye to accept the head of the peg, thus forming a ball-and-socket joint (Fig. 5). Once connected in this way, your new artificial eye will move as the implant moves or "tracks" along with your natural eye. The peg transfers all available movement directly to your artificial eye, and also relieves pressure on the lower lid by supporting some of the weight of the artificial eye.

Figure 5. Bio-eye orbital implant after tissue ingrowth (optional peg shown). (43K JPEG)

The peg-fitting procedure can only be performed after the implant has had time to fill with tissue from the orbit-usually about six months after implantation. A bone scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test can confirm whether the implant is ready to accept a peg. These tests, as well as the peg-fitting procedure, are usually painless.

Once your ocularist has properly adjusted your artificial eye, the full benefits of the Bio-eye orbital implant will be available to you. Of course, the final results in each case will vary depending on the condition of your orbit, muscles, and surrounding tissues.

Rising to the challenge
The Bio-eye Hydroxyapatite Orbital Implant was developed to help you meet the challenge of living a healthier, more normal life with your artificial eye. This remarkable implant has been described as a "dream come true" by those who can now face each day with a more trouble-free, natural-looking artificial eye. The benefits of a more natural appearance and fewer complications have made the Bio-eye Hydroxyapatite Orbital Implant the natural choice for those who wear an artificial eye.

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