Restoring your image and your life.

What is an Ocularist?

An ocularist is a thoroughly trained professional skilled in the art of fitting, painting and fabricating custom ocular prostheses. In addition to creating custom ocular prostheses, and providing long-term care through periodic examinations, an ocularist provides the patient with complete instructions on the care and maintenance of their prosthesis. Ocularists are not doctors, meaning we cannot diagnose or prescribe you with any medicine.

Will my insurance cover the costs?

If you have medical coverage, you should have benefits for our services offered here.  If you do not have medical coverage, we can refer you to agencies that are available to help cover our services.  We also work with Medicare and Medicaid patients.  No matter what your situation, you should always come in for a free consultation so that your specific payment options can be discussed.  Our patients always come first, so do not be afraid to ask.

What are artificial eyes made of?

Unlike glass eyes of the past, today’s artificial eyes are made of PMMA (poly methylmethacrylate), or acrylic plastic.  The PMMA is easier to modify than a glass eye and also won’t shatter when you drop it.

How do Ocularists become certified?

The National Examining Board of Ocularist (NEBO) makes available a certification exam to Ocularists. The National Examining Board of Ocularists is an independent entity whose directors come from the following participating organizations:

· American Academy of Ophthalmology

· American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics

· American Society of Ocularists

· Canadian Society of Ocularists

· Public Members

NEBO awards the title, Board Certified Ocularist (BCO), to those Ocularists who successfully complete a comprehensive two-part written and practical examination. All BCOs must complete continuing education requirements and be recertified by NEBO every six years.

How long after surgery should I wait to get my artificial eye made?

A patient may be fitted with an artificial eye about 6 weeks following surgery. This grace period allows for the eye socket to heal adequately before beginning the fitting process.

How well will my artficial eye move?

Your prosthesis will move just as well as your implant moves within your eye socket.  Eviscerated sockets tend to incorporate better movement, as the orbital muscles are not tampered with and are naturally able to move the inserted implant with the orbital tissue.  Enucleated sockets have more trouble with this movement because the orbital muscles are sewn back onto the implant and in turn they become a bit shorter.  This can vary patient to patient.  Trauma in some cases may also have an impact on your overall movement.

What is the difference between a "stock" eye and a "custom" eye?

A “stock” eye is an artificial eye that has been mass-produced for no patient in particular. A “custom” eye is an artificial eye that has been made by a certified ocularist to fit a specific patient.

How many visits should I expect to finish my artificial eye?

You will receive your custom made prosthesis after 2-3 visits with us at Southeastern Ocularists, Inc.

How often should I see my ocularist?

It is generally recommended that infants under 3 years of age be seen every 3 months; patients under 9 twice yearly, and all other patients at the very least, once a year.

How often should I come to get my prosthesis cleaned & polished?

You should return to your ocularist every 6 months for a professional polish and resurfacing. This process will remove any scratches or build-up, decreasing eye irritation, and ensuring that the prosthesis remains comfortable.

How should I clean my artificial eye?

The best way to clean your prosthesis is with a mild liquid soap or baby shampoo and water. Wash it with your finger or a soft washcloth and rinse thoroughly. Never use alcohol to clean your prosthesis because it will destroy the plastic.

When should I replace my artificial eye?

You should have a new eye made every 3-5 years. The lifetime of the artificial eye’s plastic will depend on each patient and their unique eye socket chemistry.

What are some benefits of having an artficial eye?

While an ocular prosthesis helps to improve your appearance, it is important to remember that the primary purpose and function of the prosthesis is to support the soft tissues of the socket, protect the implant, and improve patient comfort.

Should I be self-lubricating my prosthesis?

Most people wear their prosthesis comfortably with no lubrication needed. However, some may find the use of lubricating eye drops necessary because of dryness. Dryness can occur from changes in temperature, wind, allergies, or other medical conditions, such as “dry eye”. Lubricating eye drops are available for purchase at each of our office locations.

Can I wear my prosthesis while in the water?

You can wear your eye during watersport activities. Just make sure to wear protective eyewear such as googles to ensure that your artificial eye is not lost. Be careful when removing your goggles as, in some cases, the suction may be strong enough to loosen the prosthesis.

How should I store my artificial eye when not wearing it?

As a general rule, you should keep the artificial eye in the socket as long as it is not bothering you (unless otherwise directed by your ocularist). If you find it necessary to remove your artificial eye it should be stored in water or soft contact saline solution to prevent deposits from drying on the surface.

How do I take my artificial eye in and out of the eye socket?

To insert your artificial eye, first make sure that the top of your eye, indicated by one or two colored dots, is aligned with your top eyelid. Pull your upper eyelid up and insert the upper half of your artificial eye. Next, pull your bottom eyelid down to make room for the lower half of your eye. To remove your artificial eye pull your lower eyelid down and the eye should easily slide out.

Where can I find more information?

On our Resources page we have provided some helpful links for you to further educate yourself on artificial eyes. You can also follow us on social media via Facebook and LinkedIn.


Did you know…

Southeastern Ocularists, Inc. opened our Charlotte, NC office in 1993.

Prepare for your visit

For your convenience, we have provided first-time patient and insurance documents for you to fill out ahead of time before you come into the office.  This will save you the hassle and allow you to fill out the information on your own time. 



Did you know…

While the process is similar around the world, every ocularist has their own techniques and methods they use to make an artificial eye.  The American Society of Ocularists hosts regular meetings throughout the year where these methods are discussed and studied in order to expand knowledge in the field.

Time for a new prosthesis?

Eye prostheses should be regularly polished and adjusted, if needed, each year.  Although, it is recommended to have a new prosthesis made every 5 years if you are 21 or older and every 2 years if you are younger than 21.  Polishing and resurfacing should be done at least 2 times a year.


Did you know…

Prior to World War II, ocular prosthetics were made of specialized blown glass.  During and after World War II this glass became increasing difficult to obtain in America.  The United States military, along with a few private practitioners, developed a technique of fabricating prostheses using oil pigments and plastics. Since World War II, plastic has become the preferred material for the artificial eye around the world.  Acrylic plastic revolutionized the art and process of making ocular prosthetics.

In comparison to glass, acrylic provided better comfort and fit. Glass artificial eyes frequently needed replacing and broke easily. Acrylic improved the techniques for making artificial eyes such as impression molding, blending and allowed for easier changes in shape, color or size of an ocular prosthesis.