A British man was the first patient in the world to receive a 3D-printed prosthetic eye, according to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.
Steve Verze, 47, a London engineer, received his left eye on Thursday and tried it on for the first time earlier this month.
Moorfields Eye hospital stated in a press release that the prosthesis is the first all-digital prosthetic eye created for a patient.
The ocular prosthesis is more realistic than the other alternatives and is designed to have “sharper definition and a pupil with true depth,” the hospital said.
Other prosthetic eyes consist of a hand-painted iris on a disk that is then inserted into the eye socket.
That design, however, prevents light from passing through the full depth of the eye, according to the hospital.
In addition to looking more realistic, the procedure is also considered less invasive.
Potential to cut waiting time ‘by half’
The 3D image was sent to Germany to be printed before being sent back to the UK, where it was finished and polished by an eye specialist (a professional specializing in the manufacture of ocular prostheses) from the Moorfields Eye hospital.
“I’ve needed a prosthesis since I was 20 and I’ve always felt insecure about it,” Verze said in the statement.
“When I leave the house, I often look in the mirror again, and I didn’t like what I saw. This new eye is fantastic and, as it’s based on 3D digital printing technology, it’s going to get better and better,” he added.
Moorfields Hospital said 3D printing has the potential to “halve” the time it takes to develop an eye prosthesis — from six weeks to two or three.
A spokesperson told CNN that clinical trials involving more patients would begin soon.
Mandeep Sagoo, head of the project at Moorfields Eye Hospital and professor of ophthalmology and eye oncology at University College London, said he was excited about the potential of the new method.
“We hope that the upcoming clinical trials will provide us with robust evidence of the value of this new technology, showing the difference it makes to patients,” he said.
Reference: CNN Brasil