Children Born With Small or Missing Eyes Get 3D-printed implants

Children Born With Small or Missing Eyes Get 3D-printed implants

The use of 3D-printed implants to help children suffering from microphthalmia (children with abnormally small eyes) or anophthalmia (children with missing eyes) has been making strides in the research field recently [1]. Studies surrounding this new personalised and non-invasive treatment which sees the use of 3-D printed biocompatible implants specifically developed for each child is expected to be presented this week at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Baltimore [2].

Implants seemed to be well tolerated in children

These biocompatible implants are also known as conformers and seemed to be well tolerated in the recipients. They were also found to be non-invasive while simultaneously stimulating expansion of the eye sockets and growth and opening of the eyelids. These two features are essential to facial development in young children. This is so because the lack of growth of the eye sockets, for example could lead to a range of facial deformities that only manifest with time and age [2].

In one particular study cohort, four babies were given the first in a series of biocompatible implant conformers followed by MRIs and the creation of impression moulds. Subsequently, a set of conformers of increasing size was given to the parents too [1]. They were then taught how to replace the existing conformers for the larger ones as soon as it could fit in the eye socket.

Increases in eye cavity volumes

While no treatment for creating a new eye that can function appropriately currently exists, the use of these biocompatible prosthetics for cosmetic purposes does however require the generation of sufficient volume within the eye sockets. The results from this treatment showed the eye cavity volumes increase to about 35% of that in relation to the reference eye volumes while results from no treatment were much lower, showing an approximate increase of only 7.6% [2].

References

[1] News Medical

[2] News Wise

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