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Case study 9

Take home message:
For some men, being frank and open about their artificial eye seems to be an excellent way of accepting it and getting on with other things. Even if artificial eyes do not move as fully as natural eyes, they can still create the illusion of full movement.

Glossary of terms:
Waratah : These are metal fencing posts with a Y-shaped cross-section.
Enucleation : An operation where the eyeball is completely removed. An implant is usually inserted into the hole that is
left and the eye muscles tied over it. This provides the foundation for the prosthesis and enables it to move in concert
with the sound eye.

Mike McCormack has just turned 50. He married at age 16, and he and his wife now have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. This early introduction to the adult world of responsibility and accountability might be why he took the loss of his left eye in 2001 so well. Mike lost the eye when he fell on a waratah while erecting a fence on one of his road construction assignments. He remembers that at the time his major concern was not damage to his appearance, but adjusting to using his right eye instead of his left for precision measuring and sighting etc. Mike overcame this problem and continued with his job as a roading supervisor. He is currently working at the Mt Isa mines in Australia where he often jokes about his artificial eye with his fellow workers.

It’s a good excuse when I make a mistake

Mike’s open, pragmatic approach is genuine and reflects the fact that for him, the loss of an eye is no big deal. However, he is careful to look after his precious right eye and to ensure his prosthesis is properly maintained.

Review of prosthesis and socket:
Mike arranged to have his artificial eye reviewed while he was visiting New Zealand on holiday from his job in Australia. His first artificial eye was made and fitted by Keith Pine shortly after his natural eye was enucleated in 2001. The condition of the prosthesis was good but the socket had recessed and the eye no longer fitted the socket well. This is a common occurrence in the first couple of years following enucleation with further recession taking place more slowly. The socket lining was moderately irritated and mucoid discharge was a daily occurrence.

The existing artificial eye was polished to provide immediate relief for the irritated socket. Then and an impression was taken for a new prosthesis which was constructed during 4 appointments over 2 days and finished well inside the two weeks Mike had in New Zealand. Because of Mike’s 18mm scleral covered implant, the socket provided an excellent foundation for the artificial eye which moves well. Certainly well enough to disguise the fact that it does not have a full range. Mike is a happy man with a great wife and family and a group of work mates who continually banter with him about his one-eyed views.

Good on you Mike, and may you continue building Australia’s best roads for many years to come.

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