Eye prosthesis by 3D printing closer and closer

Eye prosthesis

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 euros 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.


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  1.   Javier said

    Well, shortly, they will also be able to print "real" eyes to implant them in patients who have lost the original / s, or who have some defect or disease in theirs, because if they already have proof of printing organic hearts with 3D printers, why not try it with organic eyes? I know it is not so easy to say it than to do it, but knowing the advances that come out day by day in 3d printing with cells at a medical level, I do not think it is impossible in the medium or long term ...

    Greetings to everyone.