A British patient becomes the first to receive a 3D printed eyeball from London’s NHS Hospital

  • Steve Verze was blind in his left eye and lost it 20 years back. Since then, he has used prosthetics.
  • A Hackney man in his 40s said that they made him feel self-conscious.
  • However, he stated that 3D-printed glasses look ‘fantastic’ and would only “get better”.
  • The 3D-printed eye was fitted in clinical trials by doctors at Moorfields Eye Hospital. 










Today, an NHS patient is the first to receive a 3D printed eye as part of a clinical trial.

Steve Verze, from Hackney in London, lost his left eye in his 20s and has been using prosthetics — which need to be replaced every five years — ever since.

The engineer, now in his 40s, said the plastic acrylic versions have left him feeling ‘self-conscious’ and taking second glances in the mirror.

However, he will now walk out from Moorfields Eye Hospital wearing the 3D-printed 3D eye. This eye is expected to look much like an actual eye.

He hopes that the 3D-printed model will restore some vision for his left eye but also give him back his confidence. 

Doctors at the hospital are offering patients 3D-printed eyes as part of a clinical trial,  which they say could halve waiting times for prosthetics. 

A patient will need to wait six weeks to get a prosthetic. They must undergo surgery, and the prosthetic must be fitted to their socket. 

Printing a 3D printed eye requires only 2 and 1/2 hours. Around 60,000 people need prosthetic eyes in the UK.

Steve Verze (an engineer in his 40s) will walk out from hospital today wearing a 3D-printed, 3-D-printed, eye. His left eye was amputated in the 20s. Since then, Verze has had to use prosthetics every five years.

Mr Verze is pictured here looking at his new eye in the mirror. He left hospital today with the eye

This is Mr Verze looking in the mirror at his new eye. Today, he left the hospital with his new eye.

Verze stated that he has needed a prosthetic for 20 years and is self-conscious about the fact.

“I often look at the mirror when I leave home, even though I do not like what I see.”

“This amazing new eye looks great and is based on 3D Digital Printing Technology, so it’s only going to get better and better.”

What is the process of 3D printing eyes? 

3D-printed glasses are being used by doctors at Moorfields Eye Hospital as part of their clinical trial.

First, patients have an image of their eye socket taken in order to create a digital mapping of the region. To ensure a perfect match, the patient’s good eye is also scanned.

In Germany, the digital maps of each eye are sent by email to be printed on a 3D-printing device in just two hours.

London receives the results and the surgeon fits it.

According to Doctors, this will reduce waiting time by as much as half.

The average time it takes to fit a prosthetic eye is six weeks. 

It takes approximately six weeks to receive a replacement eye. This requires surgery on the socket, and two hours of moulding to make sure it fits properly. 

The prosthetic must be painted so that it matches the original.

NHS patients are often required to wait for a prosthetic to be fitted four to five months following surgery. Currently, waiting times are longer.

The new technique, according to Moorfields Eye Hospital doctors, could be completed in three weeks.

This involves scanning the socket to create a map.

Also, the eye of the gods is checked to make sure it matches. 

These digital maps will then be sent to Germany, where they are produced by a 3D printer in less than two hours. 

It is then sent back to the hospital, where it’s finished and fitted to a patient. 

Dr. Mandeep Sagoo from the hospital is an opthalmologist consultant.

We hope that our next clinical trial will show us the true value of this technology.

“It clearly has potential to lower waiting lists.” 

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