Scleral Shell Update

When it was determined that my son’s eye wouldn’t turn out to be a functioning globe, we started the process of getting him a scleral shell.  I didn’t know anything about scleral shells or who made them (Occularists) or how it was done.  I found very little information on the internet.  So, I decided that I would cover Mik’s quest for a normal looking eye in this blog.  If you came here because of the scleral shell tags, you’ll want to read all the posts under my eye injury category.   

Mik wore his shell through the end of the school year.  After one trip to his retina specialist in the late spring, he was put on antibiotics because his eye was red and gunky.  His eye didn’t seem to clear up with treatment so I called the Occularist to find out if there was something we were doing wrong in cleaning it, etc.  The lady that made our shell was no longer at this office so we went in to meet with Jim. 

I’m a little irritated to find out that the quality of Mik’s shell was not as good as it should have been.  According to Jim, the redness and gunk was more likely to be from chronic irritation because the shell was not as smooth or as well polished as it should have been.  Jim did a re-polish and sent Mik home to wear it for a while to see if all was well.

Truthfully, Mik hasn’t been wearing it because it is summer and he is swimming all the time.  We chose to take it out while he is swimming and its been easier to just not put it in at all.   The couple of hours he did wear it over the summer, it seemed like the situation wasn’t any better.   His eye turns blood-red when he wears it and he started complaining about it feeling like it was pinching him. 

This time when we returned to Jim, he decided to grind down the edges and suggested that we gradually increase his wearing time until we get to 6-8 hours a day.  Just like with contact lenses, this will trick the eye into accepting the shell as normal and will not get irritated when the shell is in.  The adjustments that Jim made to the edges of shell makes it smaller so it doesn’t sit so far under the eyelids.   

I want Mik to have a prosthetic that he is comfortable with and feels good about wearing but I gotta admit that I’m a little irritated that we are having to come back for so many adjustments.  Maybe this is normal but it didn’t seem like this was communicated to us before.  Perhaps I am a little more aggravated because there are only a handful of occularist in the country so we have to drive over an hour for every appointment.  I’m just glad we don’t end up waiting for hours in a waiting room like we do when we see the retina or cornea specialists. 

I must remember that these are minor things.  The shell still looks fantastic and I even had trouble remembering which eye to take out today.



Filed under Eye Injury, family

4 responses to “Scleral Shell Update

  1. Hello,

    I came across your site while searching for information on scleral shells. My 3 year old son lost vision in his left eye due to endophlamitis. The endophlamitis was introduced after an injury by an eyeglass screwdriver. I would love to communicate with you about your experience with prosthetics, especially given that this was years ago and your son is older now. If you would, email me.

    We just learned of this Friday after a failed surgery and are in the thick of emotions.

    • Sorry to hear about your son. I’ll help all that I can but, admittedly, my son doesn’t wear his shell. He’s 17 now. Lives a completely normal teenage life. Drives and everything. We had some quality issues and he ended up having irritation so he quit using it. I’ll be happy to answer whatever I can. I think too that your son’s age might come into play with growing. The shell was very expensive. Insurance only covered part of it.

      • Thanks for responding. Does he wear a prosthetic at all now? Or patch only? I’m encouraged to hear his teenage life is normal. Do you think it has held him back at all?

      • No, he does not wear it. The long story is that the person that made it, didn’t do a good job with making a smooth surface. When we went back for a check up, she was gone (fired or quit) and they had to remake the surface. By then he had chronic inflammation and, at 8 years old, had no interest in trying it again. I’m hoping he will. It looked amazing. You couldn’t tell the difference.
        No, it hasn’t held him back. He’s about to earn his Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts. He was uncoordinated before the accident so he’s never been good at sports. Still, he played on the high school soccer team. We’ve just made sure he wore protective glasses for sports, etc. oh, he also does not wear a patch. Kids asked about it and some still do. He has a good humor about it.

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