BALTIMORE Scientists and engineers are 3D printing all types of objects these days, including eyes: A group of eye specialists and eye-care providers from the Netherlands has used 3D-printing technology to create artificial eye structures, called conformers, in a small study of five children.
The technique could help children with conditions called microphthalmia and anophthalmia, in which they are born with underdeveloped or missing eyes, respectively, the research team says. These conditions, which can occur in one or both eyes, affect more than 10 percent of blind children worldwide and as many as 30 in 100,000 children, according to previous studies.
Although the sculpted eyes dont enable the child to see, they do provide critical support of the eye socket so that the childs face can have a natural, proportional look, the researchers said today (May 11) here at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), the worlds largest gathering of eye and vision researchers.
If theres no eye present, theres not enough adequate stimulus for the bone [around the eye socket] to grow, Maayke Kuijten, a ...