3D printed 'eyes' for babies with microphthalmia

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Close-up photo of a child's eye.

More than ten percent of blind children have a condition called microphthalmia or anophthalmia (underdeveloped or missing eyes).  Babies born with these conditions often have malformed eye sockets later in life as their eye sockets do not grown along with the child. Conformers are typically created to hold and grow the eye socket; larger conformers are created and used as the child grows.  Tradition methods for creating conformers is a laborious process. 

In the Netherlands, a group of eye specialists are using 3D printed conformers to create artificial eye structures.  The infant is measured and an eye-growth chart is developed for the next 10 years.  3D printed conformers are then created in a vast array of sizes. For rapidly growing infants, a conformer can be replaced by a slightly larger size on a weekly basis.  

For details about this promising research, view Live Science article, 3D-printed 'Eyes' Could Help Blind Children's Faces Grow Naturally