Patient receives first 3D printed ocular prosthesis

(Photo: Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)
A patient from London received the first 3D printed ocular prosthesis. National Health Service patient Steve Verze visited Moorfields Eye Hospital last week to receive the new left eye after it was printed by Fraunhofer IGD, an international institute for applied research in visual informatics.

To print the eye, Fraunhofer designed a process that would cover every step of the patient experience, from taking a patient’s measurements and fitting the design to the healthy eye, to printing the actual prosthesis. While a traditionally made ocular prosthesis can take months to reach its recipient, a prosthesis made using Fraunhofer technology can be done in half the time. The 3D printed eye also appears more realistic, which contributes to the comfort of many patients.

“The closer you get to reality, the more and more I feel confident. ” noted Verze at On Demand News. “If I can’t see the difference, I know other people can’t see the difference. “

The method of adjusting the eye is also unconventional. Rather than making a wax and alginate mold of the patient’s empty orbit – an uncomfortable and invasive route that only sometimes involves the patient under anesthesia – Fraunhofer Technology chose to work with Occupeye Ltd, a UK sensor company. who modified an ophthalmic scanner for the project. The scanner allows Fraunhofer to measure a patient’s orbit in 2.4 seconds.

Patient Steve Verze after receiving the ocular prosthesis. (Photo: Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)

After obtaining the measurements of the empty orbit, Fraunhofer captures a color-calibrated image of the patient’s healthy eye and combines the data in a system called “Cuttlefish: eye”, which produces a 3D printing model for the prosthesis. . Fraunhofer then prints the model using a multi-color, multi-material 3D printer.

The technology gives new hope to those who have suffered the loss of an eye, whether from a serious illness like eye cancer or from a traumatic injury. “Having major surgery to remove an eye, for example, is psychologically very difficult. Thus, to be able to give the patient a realistic looking prosthetic eye as quickly as possible. . . is a big plus, ”said Mandeep Sagoo, eye surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital. In Fraunhofer’s press release, Sagoo added: “[The technology] clearly has the potential to reduce waiting lists.

Fraunhofer’s technology represents the first development in the manufacture of ocular prostheses for several decades. Such developments have not been made for decades; now an eye can be 3D printed right next to other healthcare items, like respirator valves and multi-chamber pills.

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