A London hospital patient will become the first person in the world to have a 3D printed prosthetic eye.
Steve Varze, from Hackney, will receive a new left eye on Thursday at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
A 3D printed eye is more realistic than a traditional acrylic prosthetic eye.
Currently, patients undergo a two-hour session to mould their eye socket, before the prosthesis is fitted and then painted. This process takes six weeks.
However, the 3D printed prosthetic should reduce the manufacturing process to two to three weeks, with the initial appointment taking just half an hour, Moorfields Eye Hospital said.
Mr Varze, an engineer in his 40s, said that he has always felt self-conscious about his prosthetic eye.
“I’ve needed a prosthetic since I was 20, and I’ve always felt self-conscious about it,” he said.
“When I leave my home I often take a second glance in the mirror, and I’ve not liked what I’ve seen.
“This new eye looks fantastic and, being based on 3D digital printing technology, it’s only going to be better and better.”
Professor Mandeep Sagoo, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said the staff were “excited” at the potential of a fully digital prosthetic eye.
He added: “We hope the forthcoming clinical trial will provide us with robust evidence about the value of this new technology, showing what a difference it makes for patients. It clearly has the potential to reduce waiting lists.”