Losing an eye leads to a significant drop in not only sight but also in self confidence, as one’s appearance changes. Doctors are yet to learn how to restore sight after an eye loss but they’ve already started improving human appearance with 3D printing.
Nowadays additive manufacturing is widely used in medicine. The medics from South Korean Severance Hospital decided to create the eye prosthetic based on it. The process starts with gathering data about patient’s eye socket, which is later used to generate a high-definition 3D scan.
Scanning is done with Cara Scan 3.2, developed in Germany by Kulzer Inc. The scanner analyzes the laser beam reflections and creates an image. It is very noisy and rough, so it gets smoothed and enhanced in ZBbrush 4R7. After that an STL file is exported for 3D printing on Carima DS131.
Thanks to additive manufacturing creating a new eye prosthetic takes 8 hours, while using traditional technologies took about 10. The change may not seem impressive, but it is important to remember, that usually everything is done manually by a single specialist. But with additive manufacturing manual labor time doesn’t exceed 3 hours, which is significant. Another improvement is that in case the patient loses or damages their prosthetic, it can be easily re-printed, as all the data is stored in their personal file, and the whole modeling process doesn’t need to be repeated.