World's First 3D Printed Prosthetic Eye
On November 25, 2021, a man named Steve Verze has reportedly received the first 3D printed prosthetic eye.
The 3D printed eye is a life-like and more realistic prosthesis, with sharper definition and actual depth to the pupil. Unlike previous procedures, it uses eye scans rather than an intrusive moulding of the eye socket, which is so difficult for children that it may require general anesthesia.
Additionally, the production process is way faster. After a scan is done, the prosthesis can be printed in two and a half hours using 3D printing. It is then finished, polished, and fitted by an ocularist. The whole process just takes two to three months.
Steve Verze with his 3D-printed eye prosthetic. Photo from Moorfields Eye Hospital
Steve Verze, age 40 an engineer from Hackney said, “I’ve needed a prosthetic since I was 20, and I’ve always felt self-conscious about it. When I leave my home I often take a second glance in the mirror, and I’ve not liked what I’ve seen. This new eye looks fantastic and, being based on 3D digital printing technology, it’s only going to be better and better."
Professor Mandeep Sagoo, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields and professor of ophthalmology at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital UCL and Institute of Ophthalmology said, “We are excited about the potential for this fully digital prosthetic eye. We hope the forthcoming clinical trial will provide us with robust evidence about the value of this new technology, showing what a difference it makes for patients. It clearly has the potential to reduce waiting lists.”
It’s a remarkable step forward for eye prosthetics, and there’s little doubt that these 3D printed prosthetics will soon be advancing the world of human vision just as other medical technology has.