There comes a time when even eyeballs contract diseases that cannot be destroyed or fixed. You may have cancer in your eye socket that has spread to the eyeball, or a disease of the eye that will cause you to go blind in that eye.

When that happens, your eye doctor may decide that your eyeball either has to be removed, or another approach should be taken to remedy your situation. Here are some common approaches to diseased eyes and eye sockets, and what to expect for each.

Removing the Eye

Usually, as is the case with cancer, the eye is removed. If the cancer has spread to the eye socket, part or all of the muscles that control the eye and/or part of the bone of the eye socket may need to be removed as well.

  • Because your doctor cannot put you to sleep for this surgery, he or she will cover your unaffected eye and then utilize a local anesthetic for your other eye.
  • Devices which pull your eyelids apart and help them stay open during the procedure are then installed.
  • Your doctor will use a laser or scalpel to cut the muscles and tendons that hold your eye in place, and then carefully pop your eye from the socket.
  • The optic nerve attached at the back of your eye may be removed as well, since it will be of little use with the eye gone.
  • The doctor will then look for the areas of cancer or other diseases in the soft tissues of your eye socket and the bone itself before removing anything else.
  • The eye socket is then packed with moist bandages and another bandage is wrapped around your head to keep the moist ones in place.
    If you so desire, a glass eye will be ordered to replace the eye you lost. You will need to use a saline solution to moisten the socket regularly and keep the glass eye from irritating the soft tissues.

Sewing the Eye Closed

In the event that you have a rare disease that causes your eye to disintegrate or be reabsorbed into the body, your doctor will monitor this for infection and/or remove the remnants of the eye. Then he or she will sew the eyelids together, closing the eye and almost empty socket from view. This is only done if there is no way to save the eye and a glass eye is not a valid solution to the problem. This procedure is typically performed on children who are born with rare congenital defects or diseases of the eye and eye socket, but it may be performed on adults too.