The marketing of the first 3D printed eye has begun
The Severance Hospital belonging to the Yonsei University (YUHS), in South Korea, has announced that after more than three years of research they are preparing to market the first 3D printed eye, an eye prosthesis that will help hundreds and thousands of patients.
This comes as the market for 3D printing is growing within the medical sector. Across all fields from general research into innovative surgical technologies all the way to specific subjects such as Orthopediatrics. 3D printing is providing new methods and solutions newer before possible in the medical sector.
DLP technology to create an artificial eye
Over a year back, the first 3D printed eye prosthesis developed by the University of Leuven in Belgium was unveiled , but no mention had been made of its commercialisation. Therefore, to respond to the patient demands, making up more than 60,000 people in Korea alone, the Severance Hospital decided to get down to business.
“We want to help patients who need artificial eyes with our 3D printing technology,” said Professor Yoon Jin-sook, a researcher of ophthalmology department at Severance Hospital. “Our team’s planes provide first-rate public health services through high-quality artificial eyes and a network that can increase patient access.”
The project was developed by the Ministry of Science and ICT of Korea in conjunction with the YUHS research team, led by Professor Jin-sook, and the artificial eyes manufacturer, Baik Seung-woon, to successfully create a technology that uses 3D printers to simplify the production process of an eye printed in 3D.
Manufacturing of an eye printed in 3D
The technology chosen for the development was Digital Light Processing (DLP), a process similar to stereolithography, but it uses ultraviolet light instead of laser technology to harden the resin. This technology allows great precision in the eyes’ development, along with facilitating their manufacture. Companies like the Belgian, Luxexcel has developed it for the manufacture of 3D printed lenses. It has been shown that this method is capable of manufacturing unique lenses at a speed of up to four lenses per hour.
Professor Yoon’s team is testing the safety and validity of their artificial eye prototypes, which they believe will be ready by 2020. In addition, YUHS and Camira plan to establish a remote, comprehensive consultation network system that will provide artificial eyes to patients worldwide.
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