Steve Verze, a patient living in London, UK, became the world’s first recipient of a 3D printed eyeball as part of a cutting-edge new trial conducted at the Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Steve Verze is a 40-year old engineer, who reportedly lost his left eye in his 20s and has been using prosthetic peepers ever since. However, Verze felt self-conscious about the artificial orbs, and admitted that, “When I leave my home I often take a second glance in the mirror, and I’ve not liked what I’ve seen.”
When he got to know about the clinical trials conducted at the Moorfields Eye Hospital, he quickly got in touch. The Hospital is offering patients state-of-the-art eyeballs as part of a clinical trial aiming to expedite the peeper-replacement process — as well as make them more realistic. The 3D printed eyeball seems so real that it looks like an exact replica.
Steve Verze told reporters, “This new eye looks fantastic, and being based on 3D printing technology, it is only going to be better and better.”
Verze knows that although the synthetic sight organ won’t bring back his vision, he hopes it will at least restore his confidence.
“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.”– Professor Mandeep Sagoo, a consultant opthalmologist at Moorfields
It currently takes patients six weeks to get a new eye, which then requires them to undergo surgery, multiple appointments and a four-to-five month waiting period post-op to get a prosthetic fitted. By contrast, doctors at Moorfields Eye Hospital say that the 3D printed eyeball could take only three weeks.
“We are excited about the potential for this fully digital prosthetic eye,” gushed Sagoo.
The patient simply receives a scan of their empty socket so that doctors can build a map of the area using the software. They then scan the good eye to ensure it is a match and send the blueprint to Germany, where the synthetic stargazer is 3D printed within two and half hours. Finally, the finished product is sent back to the hospital and fitted to the patient.
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