Orbital implants have been used for cosmesis following surgical removal of the eyeball, or enucleation, for over a century. Implant design has progressed significantly in recent years with the use of porous devices, with the theoretical advantages of reduced complications and improved cosmesis. However, in some cases the theoretical benefits have not fully translated into clinical results. In this article the use of orbital implants in enucleation, with a particular focus on the newer porous biomaterials that have gained prominence over the last 15 years, is reviewed. Specific factors identified as affecting the performance of porous orbital implants include the material used, pore size, and morphology. Mechanical factors have received little consideration in the past and may form a basis for the use of higher compliance porous materials in the future. Of the porous materials in use, current clinical evidence is not sufficient to suggest either that porous implants are superior to non-porous implants, or that one material is more suited to the application than another. Future developments in this field require randomized controlled clinical trials with extensive follow-up as complications may not become evident until over 5 years post-implantation.