3D Printing of Eyes

Did you ever think you’d be able to print an eyeball? It sounds unbelievable doesn’t it? Well it may be possible in the not too distant future, thanks to 3D printing technology.

Artificial eyes, or prosthetic eyes, are fitted to someone who has lost an eye from disease or trauma. There are many reasons why someone might need a prosthetic eye. One reason is because of a childhood cancer called Retinoblastoma. Sometimes children with retinoblastoma require the eye or eyes to be removed. Another reason is if someone is born without an eye or eyes (anophthalmia).

Researchers and doctors around the world are constantly trying to improve the appearance and comfort of prosthetic eyes for children and adults.

Prosthetic eyes are made by an ocularist, and currently they are made using PMMA (Poly Methyl MethacrylAte). PMMA enables good colour matching, but is quite a heavy material, which means it can stretch the eye socket.

Researchers at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in the UK are exploring ways to use the recent advancements in 3D printing to develop a printable prosthetic eye.

If you have any expertise in this area, and you think you may be able to help, please contact the researchers by emailing maureen.mccalla@bch.nhs.uk

For further information, please see the original article at http://chect.org.uk/could-3d-printing-be-the-future-of-artificial-eyes/