A pilot clinical study of ocular prosthesis fabricated by three-dimensional printing and sublimation technique

Bo Ram Kim, So Hyun Kim, Jae Sang Ko, Seung Woon Baek, Yung Kyung Park, Yoon Jung Kim, Jin Sook Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: We sought to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of patient-specific ocular prostheses produced by three-dimensional (3D) printing and the sublimation technique. A comparison with prostheses produced using manual manufacturing methods was then performed. Methods: To confirm the biological and physiochemical safety, cytotoxicity, systemic acute toxicity, intradermal reaction, and skin sensitization tests were conducted according to the International Organization for Standardization guidelines. The compressive strength of the prostheses was also tested. Further, a case series of three patients who wore the 3D printed prostheses for more than eight hours daily for 4 weeks was executed. Self-assessments by these individuals using a questionnaire and safety evaluations focusing on the occurrence of conjunctival inflammation or allergic reactions according to the Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit criteria by slit-lamp examination and similarity assessment were completed. Results: The 3D printed ocular prostheses met the necessary qualifications per the biological and physiochemical safety tests, showing the absence of cytotoxicity, acute systemic toxicity, intradermal reactivity, and skin-sensitizing potency. Also, there was no difference in strength test results between previous ocular prostheses and the 3D printed ones. Self-assessment by the patients yielded satisfactory results, with no significant difference in the level of satisfaction reported for the 3D printed and previous handmade ocular prostheses. The 3D printed prosthesis did not trigger any side effects in the conjunctival sac and showed similar objective findings with respect to the color of the iris, sclera, and vessel patterns. Conclusions: Our study confirms the biologic and physiochemical safety of 3D-printed ocular prostheses created using computer-aided design technology and a sublimation technique. The patients' questionnaires and the judgment of the ophthalmologists/ocularists showed that the 3D printed ocular prosthesis was acceptable in function and appearance through a case series report.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0125
JournalKorean journal of ophthalmology : KJO
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Korean government, MSIP (2015M3A9E2067031) and by the Basic Science Program through the NRF funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2016M3A9E9941746).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Korean Ophthalmological Society.


  • Anophthalmos
  • Artificial eye
  • Computer-aided design
  • Sublimation technique
  • Three-dimensional printing


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