In the absence, loss or shrinkage of an eye, a custom-made well-fitted ocular prosthesis is required to promote physical and psychosocial rehabilitation of the patient and maintain integrity of the eye socket. Current practice of prosthesis fabrication entails a time-consuming artisan “trial & error” method of which the outcome is variable as it depends on the skills and experience of the ocularist. Most patients develop anophthalmic socket syndrome characterized by sinking of the prosthesis and sagging and hollowing of the eyelids, as such satisfaction with the prosthesis is low and quality of life is affected.
We pioneered with world's first design of a customized precision-fitted ocular prosthesis using 3D planning and printing technology and have recently validated the novel method in preclinical studies. This interdisciplinary project directly builds on our pilot studies, combining medical research, clinical expertise and technology to develop the new therapy. The ultimate goal is to improve patient quality of life with innovative second generation ocular prosthesis. The main task is to develop a patient-specific, automated three-dimensional printed ocular prosthesis. The rationale is that advanced three-dimensional scanning, planning and printing technology allows accurate designing and manufacturing of the prosthesis as an exact replica of the natural eye, resulting in anatomical precision fit and improved functional abilities and physical appearance.