What is Involved in Eye Removal Surgery?
Eye removal surgeries may be recommended for a specific set of conditions. The most common reasons for eye removal include a blind and painful eye (due to a variety of eye conditions), an extensive infection involving most of the eye (endophthalmitis), or a tumor involving the eye that cannot be treated adequately otherwise.
The two most common options for eye removal are enucleation and evisceration. There are pros and cons to both options and your surgeon can further discuss those options during your initial evaluation.
The Treatment :
Eye removal involves one surgical intervention followed by multiple steps until the final result, where a custom prosthetic eye can be safely fitted.
The surgery (enucleation or evisceration) is performed in an outpatient (non-hospital) setting by your oculoplastic surgeon. The surgery is typically done under general anesthesia, meaning you are asleep for the procedure. During the procedure, either the entire eye (enucleation) or the contents of the eye except for the outer shell (evisceration) is removed. Typically, a spherical implant is placed into the new vacant space to provide volume and function. The incisions are closed, and heal with a minimally visible incision on the conjunctiva. There are no incisions on the skin.
Patients are able to go home the same day of the procedure. Typically, you will go home with a patch over the eye for the first week. Bruising, swelling is typical after surgery and peaks in the first post-operative week. We recommend remaining home to recover for approximately one week. Thereafter, most patients can comfortably return to work. During the recovery period, heavy exertion and makeup use is avoided.
After the surgery, you will be seen at office appointments to evaluate your healing. These typically take place at 1 week and again around 6-8 weeks after surgery. If there is normal healing at the 6-8 week appointment, we would then refer you to an ocularist, a specialist who crafts a prosthesis, or “artificial eye”, for you. The prosthesis is a customized shell that is meticulously designed to resemble your natural eye.
Once the prosthesis is made, you should continue to have regular (typically yearly) follow-ups with your surgeon to ensure that the health of the tissues is maintained.