‘Looks fantastic!’ – London hospital achieves first implant using a 3D-printed eye

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The operation took place at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital – and the pioneering technique may slash waiting times for a prosthetic. A 3D-printed eye is more realistic than a standard acrylic replacement. The innovation can be made in two to three weeks – half the time needed for a traditional hand-painted one. With hand-made eyes, it takes two hours to make a mould of the socket. But a patient receiving a prosthetic produced on a 3D printer requires just a 30-minute initial appointment.

Mr Verze, an engineer in his 40s from Hackney, east London said: “I’ve needed a prosthetic since I was 20, and I’ve always felt selfconscious. 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.”

Prof Mandeep Sagoo, a consultant ophthalmologist at the hospital, said staff were “excited” at the potential of a fully digital prosthetic eye.

“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. It has the potential to reduce waiting lists,” he said.

Patients may need a prosthetic eye if theirs has failed to develop normally, after an accident or if one was removed, for example due to cancer. Around 60,000 people in the UK are affected. Prosthetics are replaced about every five years.

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