Back in the day when prosthetics were first created, they weren’t necessarily designed to mimic an actual human body part. For the most part, they were designed to be functional, which makes sense. However, over the years we’ve started to see more realistic prosthetics, some of them even hi-tech enough to almost mimic how an actual body part functions.
Now it looks like over in the UK, an engineer by the name of Steve Verze from Hackney is now the world’s first person to receive a 3D printed prosthetic eye. As you can see in the photo above, it isn’t necessarily obvious as to which eye has the prosthetic in it. This is thanks to the use of 3D printing which helps create a more realistic appearance and can add a sense of “depth” to the pupil.
This is versus prosthetic eyes in the past which are traditionally hand-painted and don’t always necessarily look the same as the person’s real eye. It can also take a while, around six weeks, to be completed. It is also a slightly invasive procedure, but with 3D printing, all those concerns are gone.
Not only can 3D printing help create a realistic prosthetic in a couple of hours, the tech can be used to scan the person’s eye socket to create a better fit which is a less invasive procedure. Overall, including the process to finish, polish, and fit the eye is said to take 2-3 weeks, so almost half the time compared to traditional prosthetics.
According to Professor Mandeep Sagoo, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and professor of ophthalmology at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, “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.”