From the Academic Hospital of the University of Leuven, Belgium, we receive information on how a group of researchers has managed to develop a new procedure to create the first prosthetic eye for a 68-year-old patient. Before continuing, let me know that at the moment we are working on trying to lower manufacturing costs since this first eye has had a cost of $1.300 that, in the case of this person, much of it has been covered by health insurance.
According to the researchers in charge of this development, the main reason why 3D printing has not been applied to this type of prosthesis until now is because of the low demand they have. Due to this, ocular prostheses are usually manufactured by hand and, because there is very little demand, there are very few specialists in the country who are dedicated to this. Due to this and, as indicated by Professor Ilse Mombaerts, ocular prostheses are a luxury.
The first ocular prosthesis manufactured using 3D technology is created in Belgium
According to statements made by the teacher mombaerts:
An ocular prosthesis that can be printed directly using 3D technology is not technically possible yet, but it will certainly be within our grasp soon. A carbon prosthesis will be almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
Due to the fact that the craft work can be imperfect and on all occasions it needs a great collaboration and joint work with the ophthalmologist, this time it has opted for 3D printing. In this specific center they have decided to use the services of Materialise since these, apparently and according to what those responsible for the project comment, do not affect the delivery time at all.
A clear example of why this technology is beginning to be used is in the way of measuring the eye socket in order to develop an alginate mold. Until now, this mold was made on a trial / error basis, a time-consuming technique that adds a lot of pressure to certain delicate fabrics. By means of the new technologies, a computerized topography cone beam to explore the eye socket and make a model for 3D printing.