On November 25, 2021, a patient at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust became the first person in the world to get a fully digital 3D printed prosthetic eye.
On November 11th, he put his eye to the test alongside a traditional acrylic prosthetic. He is the first patient to use a 3D printed eye as their sole prosthetic, having returned home on November 25th with just his printed eye.
A 3D printed eye is a true biomimetic and a more realistic prosthetic, with clearer definition and real depth to the pupil. Unlike traditional methods, it scans and maps the structure of the socket instead of an invasive mould of the eye socket.
Every eye socket is unique, and an eye prosthetic is definitely something you want to fit tightly and never drop out.
The production process is substantially faster. Hand-painted acrylic prosthetic eyes take around six weeks to make. After a scan is taken, the prosthesis may be manufactured in two and a half hours using 3D printing. It is then sent to an ocularist to finish, polish and fit. The whole process takes just two to three weeks.
Steve Verze, the first patient, is an engineer in his 40s from Hackney, London.
“I’ve needed a prosthetic eye since I was 20, and I’ve always felt self-conscious about it,” said Steve. “When I leave my home, I often take a second glance in the mirror, and I’ve not liked what I’ve seen. This new eye looks fantastic and, being based on 3D digital printing technology, it’s only going to be better and better.”
“We are excited about the potential for this fully digital prosthetic eye,” said 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.”
You can view the moment Steve Verze getting fitted with a 3D printing eye and his comments here.