Eye specialists at University Hospital Leuven succeeded in creating a tailor-made artificial eye in collaboration with Leuven-based 3D Printing pioneer Materialise.
The big difference with traditional artificial eyes, which are made using a hand-made mold, is that a 3D-printed eye looks a lot more like the real thing and above all fits better in the eye cavity. Leuven University Hospital used the 3D printed eye for a 68 year-old man and further adjustments were not required. The artificial eye costs 1.300 euro and is largely covered by your health insurance. Each year, the University Hospital Leuven gives about 100 patients an artificial eye.
This type of 3D Printing is called Bioprinting and has been growing every year with Belgium among its leading countries. Stem cells and an ear made of live tissue have already been printed. It won't be too long until living organs like livers and even hearts will also be printed.