Eye Socket Care

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When your child's eye was taken out, a doctor put a conformer in the eye socket. It's a plastic shell that:

  • Looks like a thick contact lens or domed cup.
  • Stays in the eye until your child is ready to be fitted for a face (artificial) eye called a prosthesis.
  • Helps hold the shape of the eye socket.
  • Prevents the eye socket from shrinking.

Your child's eye socket will keep growing while their face grows. They may need to get a larger conformer if they're not ready to be fitted for an eye prosthesis. Both of their eyes will still make tears.

How to Care for the Eye Socket

After surgery, your child will wear a bandage over their eye until they see the doctor again. It may take 6 to 8 weeks for the eye socket to heal.

The eye lid may be swollen, red, or bruised and have sticky, mucous goo (drainage) that is clear, pink, or yellow. This is normal. The good eye may be a little swollen for a few days.

  • Always keep the conformer in the eye.
  • To clean the eye socket:
  1. Wash your hands well.
  2. Take off the used eye bandage and throw it away.
  3. Use a soft, clean washcloth and warm water to gently wash the closed eyelid and eyelashes. Do not use cotton balls or tissues. You do not need to use soap.
  4. Start at the inside of the eye (next to the nose) and wipe toward the ear. Use a different part of the washcloth each time you wipe.
  5. For very sticky discharge, soften it first by leaving a clean, damp cloth over the closed eye for a few minutes. Then wipe the drainage away.
  6. Cover the eye socket with a clean eye bandage.
  • When a bandage is no longer needed, your child can clean their eye socket in the shower.
    • Let warm water run over their head and into their face. This will help clean both the eyelids and the socket.
    • Gently pat the face dry.
  • If the conformer falls out, stay calm. It will not hurt your child for it to be out t to 2 weeks. The doctor or health care provider may teach you how to put the conformer back into the eye socket. If you do not know how to do this, put the conformer in an envelope and call them or the eye clinic.
  • Be careful to avoid bumping, scratching, or rubbing the eye.
  • Your child may need to wear a plastic or metal shield over the eye.
  • They should get safety eye glasses to protect the one working eye.

Follow-up Appointments

  • At each appointment, the doctor may take out the conformer, examine the eye socket, and decide if your child is ready for an eye prosthesis.
  • Once the eye socket is healed, your child will go to an ocularist. This person will make the eye prosthesis and teach you how to take care of it.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your child's doctor, health care provider, or Nationwide Children’s Hospital Eye Clinic if:

  • Your child has pain in the eye socket.
  • The eye socket becomes red and swollen.
  • Drainage from the eye socket increases a lot more than usual or changes color from clear to yellow.
  • Problems happen in the other eye.

If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse, or call the Eye Clinic at
(614) 722-4077.


Eye Socket Care (PDF)

HH-I-44 • ©1976, revised 2023 • Nationwide Children's Hospital