Moorfields patient receives world’s first 3D printed eye

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has announced its first patient has used a 3D printed eye as their sole prosthetic.

Using a digital printer, the 3D prosthetic eye was tested with the patient on 11 November, and then used by the patient from this week.

Moorfields said the new 3D printing process helps to “avoid invasive moulding of the eye socket, often difficult with children, where they need a general anaesthetic”.

The printed eye is said be be more realistic and provides “clearer definition and real depth to the pupil”.

It’s hoped, Moorfields commented in their news announcement, that the production of the 3D printed prosthetic eye should reduce the manufacturing process to two to three weeks.

Steve Verze, the first to take a fully digital artificial eye home with him, said: “I’ve needed a prosthetic since I was 20, and I’ve always felt self-conscious about it. 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.”

Professor Mandeep Sagoo, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields and professor of ophthalmology at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital UCL and Institute of Ophthalmology, added: “We are excited about the potential for this 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 for patients. It clearly has the potential to reduce waiting lists.” 

This project has been supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre, and by Moorfields Eye Charity.