The first person in the world to be supplied solely with a 3D-printed prosthetic eye is a Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust patient located in the United Kingdom. A 3D printed prosthetic eye, acting as a true biomimicry device, provides some advantages over traditional acrylic prosthetic. It acts to provide a more accurate representation with real depth and a clearer definition to the pupil.
When compared to the process of making a traditional acrylic eye prosthetic, the 3D printed method uses scans of the eye as opposed to invasive molding techniques utilizing the empty eye socket. Due to the difficulty involved in the traditional acrylic prosthetic process, general anesthetics for children may be required. However, the non-invasive measures of the 3D printing method avoid the necessity of utilizing anesthetics.
Another significant advantage of utilizing the 3D printing method is the efficiency and speed in the production process. Whereas the traditional acrylic prosthetic eyes can take approximately six weeks to finish due to the need to hand-paint them, the 3D printed prosthetic eyes takes only two to three weeks for an ocularist to finish, polish, and fit the prosthetic.
3D printed prosthetics are making a large impact in people's lives in many parts of the body. It is exciting to see where the process may lead next in helping to positively improve individuals day-to-day lives.