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Hygiene Care for the Ocular Prosthesis, Eyelids and Eye Socket

DAILY ROUTINE

The morning routine for hygiene care begins with a thorough hand scrub, emphasis on the fingertips.  A warm wet face cloth with a 'no more tears' baby shampoo is then applied to the eyelids since they are normally crusted with secretion.  (This shampoo has a neutral pH and will not sting or smart the socket tissue or the fellow eye, plus it destroys bacteria.)  The warm wet face cloth will soften the secretion allowing you to remove it by wiping inward toward the nose.  (Do not wipe outward, because this could rotate the prosthesis out of position, or cause it to fall out of the cavity.)

Once the lids and eyelashes are free of secretion, you can proceed to one of the following routines for cleaning the ocular prosthesis, while it is in the cavity:

For the person who showers:
The water can be adjusted to a fine spray.  The sighted eye is then covered with the hand for protection while the spray strikes the lids and prosthesis.
 
For the non-shower buff:
A one ounce ear syringe can be used with tap water or distilled water.  The water is sucked into the syringe.  The syringe is then held in the palm of the hand, while the hand is in a 'hand salute' position.  The syringe is also supported by the bridge of the nose while the tip is near the inner edge of the prosthesis.  The head is tipped to the side and the drainage is caught in a face cloth or hand towel.

If you have sinus, hay fever, asthma, allergies or a cold in you system, expect an increased amount of tearing and secretion.  This is a natural experience.  It is suggested you use a normal saline solution which you can purchase at your pharmacy or you may make it yourself (¼ teaspoon of table salt to 1 quart of boiled water).  Keep this in a covered container at room temperature, not in a refrigerator.  The solution is good for a week.  Irrigate three times a day until the secretions abate.

Always carry a pocket pack of tissue and use it when necessary to remove any secretion from the prosthesis or lids.  The average amount of wiping is three to five times a day.  Avoid the use of a handkerchief or bare fingers.
 

WARNING
Never place the prosthesis in alcohol or other harsh chemical substance, this can damage the plastic surface and cause irritation to the conjunctival tissue.


MONTHLY ROUTINE

It is suggested the prosthesis be removed once a month, and checked for protein deposits.  Protein deposits will give the prosthesis a dull appearance.  The prosthesis can be washed with a soft face cloth with soap, liquid detergent or 'no more tears' type baby shampoo.  Rinse the prosthesis with water and reinsert.

 

   
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Jahrling Ocular Prosthetics, Incorporated
50 Staniford Street, Boston, MA  02114, USA
Members American Society of Ocularists, Board Certified Ocularists