London hospital patient becomes the world’s first person with a 3D-printed eye prosthesis.
Steve Varze, of Hackney, will receive the eye at Moorfields Eye Hospital on Thursday.
A 3D-printed eye is more realistic than a traditional acrylic eye prosthesis.
Currently, patients undergo a two-hour session to shape their eye socket before the prosthesis is fitted and then painted. This process takes six weeks.
However, the 3D-printed prosthesis should reduce the manufacturing process to two to three weeks, with the first appointment taking just half an hour, Moorfields Eye Hospital said.
Mr Varze, an engineer in his 40s, said he has always felt insecure about his prosthetic eye.
“I’ve needed a prosthesis since I was 20, and I’ve always felt self-conscious about it,” he said.
“When I leave my house, I often take a second look in the mirror, and I’m not happy with what I’ve seen.
“This new eye looks amazing and because it’s based on 3D digital printing technology, it just keeps getting better and better.”
Professor Mandeep Sagoo, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said staff were “excited” about the potential of a fully digital prosthetic eye.
He added: “We hope the upcoming 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.”