by Carolina Eye
There are many reasons why people need artificial eyes or ocular prosthesis. Thankfully, advancements in science now allow people that have lost an eye to often adapt to their limited vision. A skilled ocularist can now create artificial eyes that so closely match the natural eye, that they typically go unnoticed. The most common cause of eye loss is trauma or injury, but many chronic eye diseases can also lead to eye removal. Five common eye diseases that can ultimately result in the removal of an eye are Painful Blind Eye, Ocular Melanoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, Tumors and Cataracts.
Blindness is defined by the lack of light perception. If a person is completely blind, they suffer from “no light perception” or NLP. Often NLP is accompanied by pain which can be caused by a number of conditions, most commonly the pain associated with the increased eye pressure of glaucoma, a common cause of blindness. In these cases, since there is already no vision in the affected eye, the eye can be removed and replaced with an ocular prosthesis, allowing the sufferer to appear normal and to eliminate the pain.
Ocular melanoma is the most common type of eye cancer. Like other melanomas typically occurring on the skin, ocular melanoma is the result of cancer developing in I , which produce melanin, a pigment which colors the skin. In types of intraocular melanoma, meaning that the cancer occurs inside the eye rather than on the eyelid or other outer parts of the eye, the eye may be removed in order to prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, particularly the liver, where it can be fatal.
Diabetic Retinopathy, a diabetes related eye disease, results from the hemorrhaging of the small blood vessels in the eye which causes blood to leak into the eye blocking vision. The hemorrhaging is the result of poor blood glucose control, a challenge of all people with diabetes. When blood glucose levels become too high, the pressure inside the blood vessels of the body increases and the small blood vessels found in the eyes are particularly susceptible to hemorrhaging as a result of this increased pressure. Diabetic Retinopathy is reversible to a certain extent, but once extensive hemorrhaging has taken place, scarring can occur which may cause the retina to detach. This can sometimes be corrected with surgery, but if the surgery is not successful vision will be lost and the eye can be painful or unpleasing aesthetically. In these cases, removal of the eye may be a good option.
Besides Ocular Melanoma, there are other types of eye cancers that can result in the removal of an eye such as Retinoblastoma, which is most common in children. Retinoblastoma is a tumor that develops in the eye’s retina, or the light sensing part of the eye. It grows rapidly and while preserving the sight of the child is a priority, the eye is sometimes removed if the life of the child is in danger.
Finally, the development of cataracts can also lead to eye removal. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye which in extreme cases can completely block the passage of light, resulting in blindness. Cataracts can develop for a variety of reasons including exposure of ultraviolet light, exposure to radiation and many other reasons, some of which are understood and some of which aren’t understood. However, the likelihood of developing cataracts increases with age. In addition to causing blindness, cataracts also given the eye a cloudy appearance and in advanced cases, the eye is sometimes removed for cosmetic reasons.
The removal of an eye is usually a last resort in the treatment of any of these conditions because it results in complete blindness in that eye and the preservation of vision is usually a goal in the treatment of eye diseases. However, when necessary, removal of a diseased eye often provides relief from pain, prevention of the spreading of a disease to other body parts, and in some cases, thanks to ocular prostheses, improved appearance.
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