A Londoner gets the world's first 3D printed eye
Steph Deschamps / November 26, 2021
A London patient must become the first in the world to have an eye prosthesis made by 3D printer, said the hospital in the British capital that performs the procedure.
Steve Verze will be the first person in the world to receive a 3D-printed, fully digitally created eye, the Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre said in a statement.
The use of 3D printing is expected to cut in half the time it takes to make the fake eye, currently about six weeks, while making more realistic implants, he said.
I've needed a prosthesis since I was 20 years old, and I've always felt self-conscious about it, said the patient, Steve Verze, a London engineer in his 40s.
When I leave home, I often take a second look in the mirror, and I don't like what I see, he added. This new eye, which he was able to try before in November, is fantastic and it can only get better and better.
Today's acrylic implants require a mold of the eye socket, a cumbersome and invasive procedure, especially for children who may require general anesthesia. They are then placed and painted.
With the 3D version, a simple scan of the eye is enough. A software program creates a three-dimensional model, and the result is sent to a printer in Germany, which prints the eye in two and a half hours.
Faster to make, this false eye also looks more natural because it lets the light pass through its entire depth.
We hope that this clinical trial will provide solid evidence of the added value of this new technology, and the difference it makes to patients. It clearly has the potential to reduce waiting lists, commented Professor Mandeep Sagoo, ophthalmologist at the hospital.
According to the Moorfields Eye Charity, more than 8 million people worldwide have a prosthetic eye, due to deformity, disease or trauma. The organization points out that manufacturing techniques have changed little in the last 50 years.