Disease, trauma, blindness, and eye pain may necessitate the removal of an eye, also called enucleation. Many patients are still able to see normally with only one eye and with modern prosthetics combined with orbital implants allow the patient to maintain a normal appearance. Drs. Marriott, Corona, and Abbott of Texas Oculoplastic Associates of Texas perform enucleation when needed for their Dallas and Plano area patients. As board-certified ophthalmologists with training in plastic surgery, they are able to perform enucleation while maintaining the appearance and structure of the eye socket to help the patient’s post-surgical appearance.
Enucleation is performed with the patient under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure or with a one-night hospital stay. Once the patient is under sedation, the enucleation surgery takes about 1 hour as the surgeon separates the eyeball from the surrounding tissue and the extraocular muscles. Finally, the optic nerve is cut and the eyeball is removed. Bleeding is managed with cauterization and the eye socket is cleaned and bandaged.
The doctor will talk to the patient before and after the surgery about specific post-surgical care, but most patients will be told to use eye drops or ointment for 1 – 2 weeks after the surgery. Additionally, some patients may be prescribed antibiotics or mild pain medication. Patients should be ready for an artificial eye 6 – 8 weeks after their eye removal surgery.
Orbital implants are a bio-compatible material that maintains the shape of the eye socket once the eyeball is removed. Orbital implants also help keep an artificial eye in place and help it with more natural movement that matches the remaining eye.
Enucleation is most often used when the patient has a very large tumor or a large tumor in an eye with little to no vision. An eye may also be removed after a severe trauma, end state glaucoma, diabetes, and other ocular diseases.