How 3D Printing Shapes the Future of Eye Care?

3D printing technology assists in crafting more customized eye care services. 

FREMONT, CA: Medical 3D printing is an indispensable part of medical technology. It is bringing great excitement and innovations to the medical field. Now, it is possible and almost easy to offer customized medical care solutions with the emergence of 3D printing. As anyone might expect, the applications of 3D printing have now expanded into ophthalmology too. Scientists and medical technology experts have already unveiled eye care services and solutions powered by 3D printing. 3D printed optometry tools are becoming more common today.

Most contact lens wearers today use mass-produced soft lens products, made to fit an average eye shape. It's now time to imagine a world where contact lenses are entirely customized to the patient’s eye shape. With new enhanced imaging technologies, a map of the eye is created, based on which a 3D image can be made. Imaging devices can create a 3D model of the eye and then create a contact lens custom-designed for that eye model with a 3D printer. Custom-designed contact lenses are a way to enhance vision and comfort.  

Eyeglasses are another core area that is innovating by the used of 3D printing. Glasses are the core of the ophthalmology, with its frames being a finite business. But, the eyewear selection is based on what has already been designed and crafted. 3D printing is knocking at this wall. 3D printing puts specialization, customization, and uniqueness in the equation of purchasing frames. 3D printing holds the ability to not only creating frames on existing standards but frames that are literally in consumers’ minds. The technology gives the eyeglass industry the message that choices are possible.  

Apart from the innovations happening in the eye-ware domain, scientists have 3D printed thin protective film over the eye, the cornea. It is considered the most advanced version of artificial cornea yet, which will help millions of people see again. Till now, the damaged corneas are replaced with healthy ones. This new 3D printed cornea can eliminate the need for cornea donations. Instead of replacing damaged corneas with healthy ones, medical practitioners can print artificial corneas.

Recent breakthroughs in 3D printing are opening doors for enhanced eye care services.