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Do you take the eyeball out of my head?

Believe it or not, this is one of the most common questions I get from patients who are going to have eye surgery. People must think that in order to perform eye surgery, the ophthalmologist must take the eye out of their head, do whatever surgery that is planned, and then put the eyeball back into their head.

I assure you that this is NOT the case.  We most certainly leave the eyeball IN your head when we perform eye surgery.  This is true for cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery, cornea/LASIK surgery, pediatric strabismus surgery, and retina surgery.  In order to take the eye out of one’s head, we would have to cut the optic nerve.  If that happened, the eye would never see again because there is no way of reconnecting it.

There is some “play” in the optic nerve.  The nerve has a bit of extra length so that it is not taught in your eye socket.  This allows the eye to move around unrestricted without pulling on the nerve.  Rarely, the eyeball can actually come out of the eyelids from trauma or by conscious control.  But these are the exceptions, and not the norm.  And ophthalmologists certainly don’t pop your eye out for routine surgery.


6 comments on “Do you take the eyeball out of my head?

  1. This hilarious question made my day 😀

    • Lorna
      February 13, 2016

      I am glad I read this….my husband told me they take your eye right out of your head….I have cataracts and I will not get it done because I did not want my eyes out of my head…now I may think of getting it done.

  2. Pingback: What are floaters? | VisionMD

  3. mark cornwell
    January 4, 2018

    thank you, i must be up against at least 0 people that have told me they have witnessed partners eyes out for cleaning in a&e hospital

  4. Tien Ha
    March 10, 2018

    Can ophthalmologists pull eyeball forward to make them even again?

  5. Lynne
    September 5, 2021

    Some people maintain they have had their eye taken out and rested on their cheek and can get pretty agitated if told it doesn’t happen. I believe they have assumed thats what’s happened because during an examination a device is worn on a finger and it is pushed against the eye while magnifying glass is used, it can honestly feel very odd and also make one eye not align (sight-wise) with the other. Any onlooker would be forgiven for being confused by any glimpses they have of the eye in this situation.

    All I know is that surgeons in Moorfields Eye Hospital, in London, told me they do not take the eye from the socket unless it is permanent because the optic nerve is too short.

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This entry was posted on April 2, 2012 by in The Eye and tagged , , , .


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