Customised spectacles using 3-D printing technology
An amazing paper published recently in Clinical and Experimental Optometry by Dr Onder Ayyildiz describes how customised spectacles were designed and manufactured in Turkey for a five-year-old girl with Goldenhar syndrome, which is a rare congenital condition characterised 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). As a result of her condition, the patient presented with a severe nasal deformity and increased interpupillary distance (the distance between her eyes), which made it difficult for her to wear conventional spectacles.
A 3-D design of the spectacles was generated using the mid-face software data of the child obtained from an appropriate design program. After the design process was completed then came the 3-D printing of the spectacles. This was done by positioning the spectacles to fit the production table of the 3-D printer, using a software program that creates supports that secure the spectacles on the production table during manufacture. A suitable cartridge was chosen so that the final result was a semi-elastic structure. After the post-production processes were completed, the spectacles were finished and polished in an ophthalmic laboratory.
The final outcome was a great result. The 3-D spectacles were determined to be superior to the young girl’s previous conventional spectacles in virtually all respects. In addition to the improved cosmesis, the 3-D spectacles were a much better fit on the girl’s face. The bridge and the nose pads 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, being only 7 grams compared to the conventional spectacles which had a weight of 38 grams.