Ocular Prosthesis

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Prosthetic Eyes

The prosthetic eyes at Southwestern Eye Center are made of high medical grade plastic that is molded, shaped, colored and polished to create a realistic and comfortable artificial eye. The plastic is lightweight, yet tough enough to resist breakage if dropped. Each artificial eye is custom made and designed to specifically fit each individual eye socket.

The ocular prosthetic is hand painted using the patient’s companion eye as a model and guide for matching. The latest methods and technique are utilized to allow us to create a custom prosthetic eye with the best quality and cosmetic results.


Cleaning your prosthesis

1. Prepare the area to ensure cleanliness and to avoid dropping down the sink

2. Wash hands thoroughly

3. Use a mild hand soap, such as baby shampoo, and water

4. Rub the artificial eye well between the palm of your hands ensuring you cover all surfaces

5. If you notice heavy deposits or filminess on the eye you can use a warm cloth to lightly remove the deposits

6. Rinse completely and reinsert. There is no need to dry the eye before putting it back in, the moisture on the surface will aid in insertion. Some patients will find this a good opportunity to apply specific lubricants such as Systane Ultra, Refresh Optive, Refresh Liquigel or Sil-Ophtho.

Polishing the eye

Periodic Cleanings and Polishings will be needed to ensure a healthy eye socket and eyelids while maintaining good comfort, condition and cosmesis of the prosthesis. Over time the prosthesis will become scratched and dull with buildup and other films on the surface of the prosthesis. This build up prevents the prosthesis from being lubricated evenly and causes irritation to the eyelids. Increased irritation to the lids will cause excessive discharge and decreased comfort and cosmesis. Chronic inflammation and irritation can cause permanent changes to the lids and surrounding tissues. Cleanings and Polishings should occur every 3-6 months to ensure a healthy socket and avoid complications and infections. The periodic polishing will include an evaluation of the health of the socket and eyelids as well as the fit and appearance of your ocular prosthetic, ensuring that it is always looking and feeling as good as possible.

How long will my artificial eye last?

Over time changes normally occur within the eye socket and lid structure that can affect the movement, comfort and appearance of an artificial eye. The integrity of the acrylic plastic material will eventually break down and deteriorate causing socket and lid irritation as well as excessive secretions and discomfort.

The average patient needs to have their artificial eye replaced every 5-7 years, however, this can vary for each person. In the first few years, enlargements or reductions in the size of your artificial eye can often be done by adding or removing plastic without replacing the whole eye. Young children will need adjustments and replacements more frequently as their face size and shape is constantly changing.

The prosthetic may need to be replaced or modified if any of the following occur:

1. Excessive tearing or secretions

2. Chronic infections

3. Lack of movement

4. Constant dryness or irritations

5. An overall small or large appearance to the artificial eye

6. Color changes or differences

7. Drooping of the upper lid

Meet Our Ocular Prosthesis Specialist

Dr Matthew PalmerOur Prosthetic Specialist, Dr. Matthew Palmer, is a licensed Optometrist with the Arizona State Board of Optometry and the New Mexico Board of Optometry. He received his undergraduate degree from the College of Arts and Sciences at ASU. He earned his Doctor of Optometry from Southern California College of Optometry where he received honors for clinical excellence in low vision rehabilitation and management of ocular disease. At Southern California College of Optometry, he received his training as an Ocularist working with prosthetic eyes and specialty contact lenses. He has been instrumental in the expansion of prosthetic eye services in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Nevada as well as providing continuing education on Ocular Prosthetics to top educators throughout the nation. Since 2009, he has been providing prosthetic eye services to individuals in Arizona and New Mexico. His education and training in Ocular Disease and Ocularisty helps enhance the outcomes of his patients by providing comprehensive eye and prosthetic care. The ability to work closely with Ophthalmologists in bringing together the latest advancements in surgery and ocularisty has provided the best results.


Southwestern Eye Center utilizes its broad coverage to bring prosthetic eye services to the patients. Dr. Palmer provides prosthetic eye services at the following Arizona locations:

  • Casa Grande
  • Scottsdale South – Miller Rd.
  • Tucson
  • Yuma


Ocular Prosthetics are considered medically necessary and in most cases will be covered by insurance. All patients, however, are ultimately responsible for any unpaid balances. This includes deductibles and co-payment/coinsurance. Southwestern Eye Center has a broad coverage of insurance plans that allow greater access to care for patients. In certain circumstances, a special authorization may be needed before services can be offered under an insurance plan.

Schedule Online Now!

You can book your next eye care appointment entirely online and find an appointment that works perfectly for you.

“Love Dr. Palmer and his staff. Knowledgeable, friendly and always feel welcome.”

– Lupe J.

“I am very happy with Dr. Palmer. He was respectful and supportive of my concerns, explained everything, and was friendly and professional.”