The patient at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London will be the first man in the world to have an eye created using a 3D printer. Doctors believe that the prosthetic will look more realistic than a traditional acrylic eye.
“I’ve needed a prosthesis since I was 20 and have always felt insecure about it,” Steve Farris, now 40, told the BBC.
Not only will this innovation allow for more realistic prosthetics, but it will also cut in half the time it takes patients to adapt to prosthetics, from six to three weeks.
“When I leave the house, I usually look in the mirror and never like what I see,” Varese said wistfully. “These new eyes look great, and because they were created with 3D printing technology, they will continue to get better.”
The traditional technique for making an artificial eye involves the patient undergoing a two-hour session during which a mold of the eye socket is made. After that, it takes three weeks to manufacture the prosthesis. At the end of the process, the fake eye is fitted and painted to resemble the real eye.
The 3D technology should allow for prosthetics to be fabricated more quickly, in about two weeks, and the initial consultation to implement the mold could take just half an hour, according to Moorfields Eye Hospital.
“We hope the clinical trial will provide us with strong evidence of the value of this technology, and show how it can make a difference for patients,” Professor Mandeep Sajo, an ophthalmologist at Moorfields I Hospital told the BBC.
For the expert, the new technology “obviously has the potential to shrink waiting lists”.
The use of 3D printers to try to build artificial limbs for parts of the human body is nothing new. Earlier this year, scientists at Swansea University in Wales sought to 3D print a human cartilage replacement to give a ten-year-old girl an ear prosthetic.
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