Steve Verze, who is 47 and an engineer from Hackney in east London, got his left eye on Thursday and only tried it for size earlier this month.
The eye is more realistic than other alternatives and is designed to have “clearer definition and real depth to the pupil,” the hospital said.
Other eye prostheses consist of an iris hand-painted on a disc that is then embedded in the eye socket.
However, their design prevents light from passing into the “full depth” of the eye, the hospital added in the release.
In addition to appearing more realistic, the procedure is considered less invasive.
Adapting traditional prostheses requires taking a shape of the eye socket, whereas in 3D prosthesis development, the socket is scanned digitally to create a detailed image.
Verze’s functional eye was also scanned to ensure that both eyes look the same.
Potential to halve the waiting time
The 3D image was then sent to Germany to be printed before being sent back to the UK, where it was finalized and polished by an ophthalmologist from Moorfields Eye Hospital.
“I have needed a prosthesis since I was 20 and I have always felt self-conscious about it,” Verze was quoted as saying in the press release.
“When I leave my home, I often take a fresh look in the mirror and I did not like what I saw. This new eye looks great, and since it is based on 3D digital printing technology, it only gets better and better, “he added.
Moorfields Eye Hospital said 3D printing had the potential to “halve” the time it takes to develop an eye prosthesis, from six weeks to about two or three.
A spokesman told CNN that a multi-patient clinical trial would begin soon.
Professor Mandeep Sagoo, clinical director of the project at Moorfields Eye Hospital and professor of ophthalmology and ocular oncology at University College London, said in a statement that he was “excited” about the potential of the new development method.
Sagoo spoke ahead of the eye by being adapted: “We hope the upcoming clinical trial will provide us with robust evidence of the value of this new technology that shows what a difference it makes for patients.”
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