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by Alexander Fäh

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Veterinary Medicine: Innovative 3D Printing Models Revolutionize Animal Eye Examinations

  • Kansas State University employs 3D printing technology to develop innovative training models for animal eye examinations.

  • The 3D-printed eye globes allow students to learn essential skills without the need for live animals.


Revolution in Veterinary Medicine: 3D Printing Enables Realistic Eye Examinations.

The new 3D-printed eye models revolutionize the training of veterinary students.
The new 3D-printed eye models revolutionize the training of veterinary students.

In veterinary medicine at Kansas State University (K-State), significant progress is being made through the use of 3D printing technology in the training of future veterinarians. In collaboration between the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Technology Development Institute (TDI), an innovative training model has been developed, allowing students to learn the handling of equipment for animal eye examinations in a realistic manner.

The foundation of this innovation lies in 3D-printed eye globes that replicate the eyes of various animals, including dogs, cats, horses, and rabbits. These models were developed based on photographic images taken by ophthalmologists at the College of Veterinary Medicine. The eye globes consist of two parts: a clear lens and cornea on one half and a 3D-printed image of the fundus on the inside of the other half. By combining these parts, students receive a model that enables them to learn the coordination of using an ophthalmoscope, an instrument for eye inspection.

The initiative for this teaching aid arose from the desire to reduce the use of live animals in the training of basic skills. The 3D-printed models provide students with the opportunity to learn necessary coordination and manual skills, as well as build muscle memory, without the need for live animals.

The training eyes were produced in an extra-large size to facilitate learning of indirect fundoscopy, a technique requiring a special hand-held magnifying glass. This technique allows for the examination of the fundus using the dilated pupil of the animal.

The project was launched as part of the K-State 105 Initiative, a Kansas State University project to promote economic growth and progress in Kansas. The Technology Development Institute (TDI) received funding from the Research and Entrepreneurship Federal Matching Grant Dollars Fund to support the development of these innovative teaching aids.

The new training sets are now being offered for sale to other veterinary schools, with the team working to find distribution partners to assist in the global marketing and distribution of the teaching aids.


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