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Enucleation

Removal of the eye is indicated when the chances of conserving a useful eye are low and when the risk of complications is high.

 

The operation is performed under general anaesthesia. A long-acting anaesthetic injection is given to minimize pain during the initial post-operative period. The enucleated eye is replaced by a ball implant. The eye muscles are sutured to this implant so that the artificial eye will move with the fellow eye. At the end of the operation a transparent ‘conformer’, similar to a rigid contact lens, is placed in the socket. About ten weeks after surgery, this is replaced by a ‘tailor-made’ permanent artificial eye, at the patient’s referring hospital. The artificial eye is like a coloured contact lens, painted to match the fellow eye. This usually gives a good cosmetic result.

To avoid any risk of Creuzfeld Jacob Disease (CJD) and 'mad cow disease', some centres perform this operation with disposable instruments and tissue transplants are not used.