Hospital "Severance" of the health system of the University of Yonsei (YUHS) announced today that it will prepare for the commercial release of its first artificial eye grown on a 3d printer, after three years of research.

According to the Severance Hospital, more than 60,00 patients in Korea require an ocular prosthesis (an eye prosthesis), but only 40,000 have access to such products.

"We want to help patients who need artificial eyes with our 3D printing technology," said Professor Yong Jin-suk, a research fellow at the Department of Ophthalmology at the hospital.

"Our plans are to provide first-class public health services through high-quality artificial eyes and a network that can increase patients' access to such operations."

Successful use of DLP technology

Sponsored by Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT, the "Artificial Eye" project began as part of the Ministry's initiative to develop technologies for new and improved medical devices.

The research group from YUHS was headed by Professor Jin-suk. The group has created a technology that uses 3D printers to simplify the artificial eye process.

After the integration of 3D Digital Light Processing (DLP) printers into artificial eye production, the YUHS team began commercialization in March. This included licensing its innovative technologies for DLP 3D printing by Korean specialists Carima.

The team of Professor Yun is testing the safety of his artificial eye prototypes, which, in their opinion, will be ready by 2020. In addition, Camira assists the YUHS team in obtaining SGS Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification, which will ultimately lead to mass production of this prototype.

In addition, YUHS and Camira plan to create a remote universal consulting network system.

The group also registered a patent for technology in China.

DLP technology and eyepiece applications

DLP technology focuses on providing a wide range of materials thanks to a compact housing with high resolution and high processing speed. In many respects, it differs from stereolithographic (SLA) printers because it uses ultraviolet radiation instead of laser technology to selectively cure the resin.

This process was rarely used in 3D printing for eye applications. Luxexcel, a Belgian company specializing in 3D optics, created 3D glasses frames using the polymerization process. This involves the use of photocurable acrylic resin as a primary raw material.

In addition, this method is proven to be capable of creating unique lenses at up to four lenses per hour, which are then covered and framed for the user.