If disease, an accident or other circumstances lead to the removal of an eye, this will lead to further treatment using an artificial eye for most patients. This so-called prosthetic eye replaces the human eye which has been removed and is inserted in the eye cavity. In Germany the majority of all ocular prosthetics are manufactured from biocompatible glass. The craftsmanship of the glass-based prosthetic has developed to a German expertise, as there is hardly anyone in other countries who has mastered manufacturing ocular prosthetics from glass. Most mainly work with synthetic materials.
Definition: ocular prosthetics are medical aids, in accordance with the definitions and indications contained in product group 24; prosthetics in the medical aid list in the sense of the German Social Code V (SBG V) as per 28/10/2005*.
Artificial eyes (ocular prosthetics made of glass or synthetic materials) serve the rehabilitation process after disfigurement or loss of the natural eye (in case of anophthalmus**) or in the case of blind or atrophied eye balls. These fulfil the task of protecting the eye socket or the rest of the bulbar from damage and in the case of anophthalmus, to prevent shrinkage and to restore certain functions (e.g. draining off tears, which would otherwise collect in the empty eye socket). They also serve to restore facial harmony through anatomically correct fitting and expression, which can reinstate some quality of life for the patient.
Artificial glass eyes are considered to be standard care (in Germany: i.e. what public health insurance will pay for). Due to their material, manufacture, anatomic and customised fitting as well as their biocompatibility, they are suitable to fulfil medical requirements (see: requirements in the sense of the Medical Product Law (Medizinproduktegesetzes).
Artificial glass eyes are manufactured as double shell (reform eyes) or single shell (shell/bulbar shell).
* In accordance with article § 128 of the Social Code (SGB) V, the umbrella organisation that represents the interests of health insurances in Germany (Spitzenverbände GKV) has accepted a partial area of eye prosthetics within product group 24 into the medical aid list. Product group 24, Area of application: 21 Eye/sight organs, 24.21.01 artificial eyes made of glass ** congenital or acquired loss of the eye ball or astigmatism.