Artificial eyes get help from industrial grinding wheels

Industrial abrasive wheels are being used by Moorfields Eye Hospital to help produce its prosthetic eyes. A wax mould is used is used to cast the acrylic plastic that is trimmed back using the Scotch-Brite EXL Unitised Wheel XL-UW, made by 3M, normally used to deburr metal parts in industry.

The customised artificial eyes are hand-made from medical grade acrylic plastic and finished with the abrasive. This is a vital part of the process as it trims the acrylic and removes flash, but critically not even the faintest of grinding can be left on the finished product.

The Scotch-Brite grinding wheel used is made of a compressed, non-woven fibre that gives it a uniform grain distribution, leading to the consistent results needed. The material is tough, with an aggressive cutting action, and is therefore ideal for deburring the edges and corners without causing any damage to the acrylic.

Customised ocular prostheses are usually made for patients who have lost an eye or eyes, or whose eyes have been damaged or otherwise affected by a range of ocular conditions.

Moorfields' ocular prosthetics department is the largest of its type in the UK, and every year that department fits, manufactures and finishes around 1400 custom-made ocular prostheses, each individually hand-tailored to the patient.

Justin Cunningham

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