Children born with small or missing eyes benefit from personalized treatment using 3D-printed implants

A new, personalized and noninvasive treatment using 3-D printed implants has been developed to help children born with abnormally small or missing eyes (microphthalmia/ anophthalmia, or MICA). The research is being presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) this week in Baltimore, Md.

The 3-D biocompatible implants, known as conformers, were well-tolerated and found to noninvasively stimulate eye socket expansion and eyelid opening growth. Without eye socket growth, further facial deformities can occur with age. While there is no treatment that will create a new, functioning eye, fitting with a prosthetic (artificial) eye for cosmetic purposes requires sufficient eye socket volume. The treatment resulted in eye cavity volumes that were on average 35% of reference eye volumes (corrected for age) whereas no treatment would have resulted in only 7.6%.

In the study cohort, four babies received the first in a series of eye orbit conformers, following MRIs and the creation of impression molds. A set of conformers of increasing size was given to the parents, who were taught to replace the conformer for a larger one as soon as it would fit into the eye socket.​

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