Another pair of customised spectacles manufactured using 3-D printing technology

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog about a paper published in Clinical and Experimental Optometry (CXO) that described how customised spectacles were designed and manufactured using three dimensional (3-D) printing technology for a five-year-old girl with Goldenhar syndrome, which is a rare congenital condition characterized by incomplete development of the ear, nose, soft palate (the soft tissue constituting the back of the roof of the mouth), lip and mandible (jawbone).  This patient had a severe nasal deformity and increased interpupillary distance (the distance between her eyes), which made it difficult for her to wear conventional spectacles.


Another paper has just been published in CXO which outlines an even more amazing case report where a nine-month girl with bilateral aphakia and microcornea was fitted with a pair of custom-made spectacles that were designed and manufactured using 3-D printing technology.  The patient had microcephaly and Seckel syndrome (MCPH/SCKS) which is characterized by severe growth retardation, progressive microcephaly and global developmental delay.  Her ocular abnormalities included down-slanting palpebral fissures, bilateral epicanthal folds, bilateral congenital cataracts and microcornea.  The patient underwent bilateral cataract surgery however intraocular lens implantation was not performed because of the bilateral microcornea.


Hence, the baby girl required a very thick (high plus) spectacle correction for her bilateral aphakia.  Standard paediatric frames are not suitable for patients with MCPH/SCKS spectrum because of microcephaly.  Consequently, the patient was fitted with a pair of custom-made spectacles that were designed using 3-D computer graphics and computer-aided design application software.  The authors of the case report employed a novel and simple 3-D surface scanning technique that used structured infrared light to produce a custom-made frame with 3-D printing technology.


Once again, the final outcome was a great result.  The 3-D spectacles were an excellent fit on the girl’s face and were very well tolerated.  The bridge fitted well on the nose, the frame balanced well on the ears, and the temple tips fitted securely behind the girl’s ears.  The weight of the 3-D spectacles was also much lighter than what would have been achieved with conventional spectacles, which is obviously a very significant factor given the required apkakic correction.