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Keratoconus disease perception enhancement through interaction with 3D printed corneal models

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First Author: J.Velázquez Blázquez SPAIN

Co Author(s):    F. Cavas   J. Bolarín   I. Toprak   J. Alió           

Abstract Details


This research aims to improve the communication strategies between ophthalmic professionals and patients, enabling a better understanding of their condition and how it can be treated, thus allowing professionals to avoid situations in which patients do not fully understand their disease’s real dimension, which could end up in states of frustration and poor results.


Vissum Corporation, Alicante, Spain. Technical University of Cartagena, Spain. Technology Centre for IT and Communications (CENTIC), Murcia, Spain


A corneal topographer was used to create a customized 3D model of the patient’s cornea by means of a Computer Aided Design software, which was later printed by additive manufacturing techniques to obtain an exact replica of the cornea. The Polylactic acid (PLA) used was biodegradable and its cost was low, and all printing software involved was open-source. To finish the research, patients made a survey to express their feelings when they sensed by touching their own printed cornea.


Of the 102 surveyed individuals, 73.8 % (9.74; SD: 0.45) thought that the use of the three-dimensional model had aided them “a lot” to better comprehend their condition, and all of them expressed their will of taking the printed model home with them. The vast majority emphasized that this novel strategy improves the quality of services rendered in clinical consultation.


The use of additive manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing allows the generation of accurate physical models that reflect the asymmetric changes associated to keratoconus pathology. Simultaneously perceiving the printed models by the vision and touch senses, allows patients to better comprehend and cope with the perspective of treatment of their condition, boosting the efficiency of the clinicians’ job and therefore improving the level of quality observed in the service they render.

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