London Man Receives World's First 3D Printed Eye

November 26, 2021

A London hospital patient has become the first person in the world to receive a 3D printed eye.

man given 3d printed eye
Steve Varze / Moorfields Eye Hospital

Steve Verze, a 47-year-old engineer from Hackney, was given the prosthetic eye on Thursday.

Moorfields Eye Hospital said in a press release that the prosthetic is the first fully digital prosthetic eye created for a patient.

"A 3D printed eye is a true biomimic and a more realistic prosthetic, with clearer definition and real depth to the pupil," the hospital explained in a press release. "Unlike traditional methods, it uses scans of the eye instead of an invasive mould of the eye socket, so difficult for children that they can need a general anaesthetic."

The production process is also much faster than traditional acrylic prosthetic eyes, which are hand-painted and can take months to complete.

"I've needed a prosthetic eye since I was 20, and I've always felt self-conscious about it," Verze said. "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, clinical lead for the project at Moorfields Eye Hospital and professor of ophthalmology and ocular oncology at University College London, said he was "excited" about the potential of the new development method.

"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," Sagoo said.

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