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In situations where a serious infection or cancerous growth appears in the eye and eye socket (orbit), or an eye has become blind and painful, surgery may be the only feasible treatment. The three technical terms, evisceration, enucleation and exenteration, refer to three procedures for eye or eye socket removal to treat such serious conditions.
The oculoplastic surgeon is best trained to perform all three of these procedures. The evisceration procedure is typically for infections but not for cancerous conditions. For conditions such as malignant tumors or gravely serious infection risks, the enucleation is performed. In situations of large cancers extending in the eye and orbit regions, and in some particularly aggressive fungal infections, orbital exenteration is the required treatment.
Evisceration and Enucleation are typically performed with local anesthesia and IV sedation in an outpatient surgery center. The surgery takes anywhere from 45-90 minutes, and you go home right afterwards. Discomfort is normal after surgery and it can take up to 2 weeks for pain to resolve after surgery.
Once the socket is fully healed (usually within 1 month) , you will be referred to a specialist to fit you for a prosthetic eye. Exenteration surgery is done in the hospital under general anesthesia and has a longer recovery period, usually 6-8 weeks.