Artificial Eyes
by Paul, Jenny and Emily Geelen

Eye Maintenance

Cleaning your eye prosthesis will keep you comfortable, reduce the level of secretion, help prevent conjunctivitis and extend the life of your eye.

How to Remove your Eye?


  • To protect yourself from infection, wash your hands before you handle your prosthesis.
  • To protect the eye from damage, rest a towel over the basin, bench or table. This ensures that if you drop the eye, it has a soft and safe landing.

To remove

  • Place one finger on the lower eyelid.
  • Look up.
  • Cup the other hand under the eye.
  • Press your finger in and pull the eyelid skin toward the ear on that side.
  • The eye should slide over the lower lid.

Taking your prosthesis out will feel awkward at first, but will soon become easier. If the eye doesn’t come out easily;

  • Use a finger on the other hand to rotate it out of the socket.
  • If you still have difficulty, suction cups are available from your ocularist to help you.
  • You might notice minor discharge on the eye. Don’t worry: this is quite normal.


  • Wash your eye with a mild soap and clean water, then rinse, ensuring all soap is rinsed away.
  • Rub firmly with a wet tissue and dry it with a clean lint-free cloth or tissues


  • Don’t Use alcohol or any chemical cleaner as even a small amount of residue can cause irritation and damage to the eye. Water or a contact lense cleaner are best.
  • Don’t use hairspray, aftershave, perfume or peroxide near your eye, as these also cause irritation.

There is protein in your tears. As the tears evaporate, they leave a coating of protein on the eye prosthesis. This build-up eventually causes a reaction on the underside of the lids, leading to irritation. To help reduce protein build-up, periodically soak your eye for a few minutes in contact lense solution, then give it a good hard rub with a wet tissue.If you experience irritation, you can alleviate it with artificial teardrops (from your pharmacist), but do contact your ocularist, as a professional polish may be necessary.

How Often Should you Clean your Eye?

This depends on your own level of comfort. If you are wearing a scleral shell, you may have to remove the prosthesis at night. Otherwise, the less you handle your eye, the better. In fact, many people wear their eye for several months before cleaning becomes necessary. Your eye socket will let you know when the time is right, because it will become irritated or weepier. Note how long you wear your eye before it needs cleaning. Then make a note in your diary to clean your eye a good few days before it is likely to become necessary. This will help you to avoid discomfort and care for your eye without undue handling. Your ocularist can send you reminder cards when polishing is due.

When to Call your Ocularist?

Any time – but definitely if you experience excessive swelling, irritation or discharge.

When to Visit your Ocularist?

Visit your ocularist regularly so that they can:

  • Restore the high polish to the eye
  • Check to ensure the health of the eye socket and surrounding tissue
  • Make sure the prosthesis is still fitting snugly and correctly aligned
  • Decide whether more frequent polish reviews are necessary for you

When to Replace your Eye?

The tissue around the eye socket changes over time, and the eye can become scratched, even with careful maintenance. For these reasons you should replace your eye every three to five years, more often for children.