Could a 3D Printer Make a Human Eye?
A design company named MHOX says yes. In fact, the company estimates its EYE 3D bioprinted sight augmentation products, called Eye Heal, Eye Enhance and Eye Advance, will be on the market in 2027.
MHOX says that it's possible to print organic body parts that function as well as or even better than our natural ones, and that includes the eye. After all, 3D printers have already created prosthetics and bone replacements.
The eyes would be bioprinted with a needle that drops cells that then clump together. Various bio-inks would be used to re-create differentiation of various eye tissues that have different functions.
MHOX imagines that a wi-fi gland and a filter gland could improve and record images your eye sees, so you could share your visual experiences with other people.
The company also projects that eyesight could be improved up to 15/10 — far sharper vision than our current standard of 20/20 — with a "hyper-retina." Eye functionality could be improved as well, to treat eye injuries and even cure eye diseases.
The envisioned process includes a surgical procedure to install the Deck, "the technology that actually connects the eye to the brain," according to MHOX's website, after the natural eye is removed. Then users could interchange their own augmented eyes without surgery.
Okay, we're getting into very interesting territory here: People would have their eyes removed and then could actually replace their own augmented eyes? Hmm. And it is hard to imagine that a 3D printed clump of cells could function as well as or better than our naturally grown peepers.
But the concept is fascinating, so keep an eye on 3D printing, which may become an integral part of our medical care in just a few years from now.