OCULARIST - DEFINITION
An Ocularist is a trained professional who fits and manufactures Custom Designed Ocular Prostheses (artificial eyes). An Ocularist is also qualified to fit Scleral or Haptic Shells (an artificial eye shell which fits over a blinded eye). The Ocularist's domain is the eye socket and blinded Phthysical eyes.
THE OCULARISTS ASSOCIATION OF
The association represents the co-ordinating body for disciplines related to the rehabilitation of patients suffering from all forms of Ocular and Orbital trauma resulting in either blindness or loss of either one or both eyes.
The Ocularists aim is, through an eye prosthesis, not only to restore lost orbital and ocular contours and function, but also to buoy the spirit of the patient.
The association aims to endeavor to sustain and further develop the working relationship held with Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and Maxilo-Facial Surgeons in order to achieve the best possible treatment in holistic rehabilitation of patients.
The Ocularists Association of Southern Africa has appointed Mr Harry Rosen as ombudsman.
He is available to both Ocularist’s and patient’s alike in order to maintain an open and honest work ethic in Ocularistry.
Polishing of your ocular prosthesis on an annual basis will extend the life of the material of your prosthesis.
An ocular prosthesis needs replacing every -five to eight years as the material deteriorates and therefore has a limited lifespan. If not replaced, this Will lead to recurring discharge from the socket and resultant irritation to the socket.
If the shape of your socket changes due to aging or damage, a new prosthesis is often considered Mr better comfort and cosmesis. Bear in mind, that when fitting a child, a new prosthesis is required at regular intervals during the growing years so that the socket and prosthesis keep pace with the changes occurring in the facial bone structure.
It is very important to replace your prosthesis with socket changes as damage to your eyelids and socket may occur if the prosthesis fit is not aligned to that of the socket.
While there are many various types of implants fitted surgically by the Ophthalmologist, the ocularist is trained to manufacture the correct prosthesis irrespective of implant type.
An ocular prosthesis is often called a 'glass eye'. While there arc still one or two companies worldwide who tit blown glass ocular prostheses, the world trend for the past number of years is the use of MethylMethacrylate, an acrylic. All registered members of the Ocularists Association of Southern Africa use MethylMethacrylate in the manufacture of your prosthesis.
In order to achieve the best results, one should exercise patience with fittings and manufacture processes as these are very time consuming and all attention is paid to achieve the best final result possible. The fitting period may extend over a few months to ensure that the eye prosthesis is going to be accurately and symmetrically reproduced to resemble your remaining eye.
A custom designed ocular prosthesis is a prosthesis taken from an impression moulded shape, which then corresponds with the socket shape in order to achieve best comfort, movement and lid shaping.
The stock prosthesis is not hand made for an individual patient and one is usually chosen from a fitting set held by the Ocularist. A stock prosthesis can be adjusted for a better cosmetic result.
The ocular prosthesis falls under the non-surgical or external appliance section of your medical aid fund. Most Ocularists can assist you in getting the proper authorisation for manufacture and fitting of your ocular prosthesis.
Always take note of package inserts on medication used with your eye prosthesis, as some eye medications are contra-indicated for hard/gas-permeable contact lenses (which are also made from Methyl Methacrylate) and would therefore be contraindicated for your eye prosthesis. Your eye prosthesis should be removed for the duration of the course of medication prescribed to prevent deterioration of the material. Ask your doctor, if he is able, to prescribe an alternate medication which will not affect your eye prosthesis.
All Ocularists registered with the Ocularists Association of Southern Africa
are Affiliate members of the South African Optometric Association.