Smartphone images can be used to develop 3D-printed custom frames for children

Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus

Three-dimensional (3D)–printed custom frames for children are usually based on head images, but a new technology that uses 3D surface imaging (3DSI) captured via smartphone may have more widespread applications.

Study design

This case series included 20 pediatric patients with craniofacial abnormalities who underwent fitting of custom 3D-printed glasses created with 3DSI. For 3 of the patients (aged 3–7 years), direct anatomical and facial parameter comparisons were made for the measurements taken with 3DSI scans and those taken with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.


Key fit measurements, including face width, distance from lateral canthus to medial canthus, and ear vertical offset, were similar between the 3DSI and MRI scans. All 20 patients had a successful fit of their custom frames; there was a mean of 1.7 revisions between the initial prototype and the final frame.


The study was limited to 20 children and presented no visual outcome data in terms of improvement in vision with improved compliance. In addition, the majority of the patients required revisions of the glasses for optimal comfort/fit.

Clinical significance

Smartphone-assisted printing of custom glasses for children with craniofacial anomalies is becoming more accessible, and results from this study indicate that findings from smartphone technology were similar to MRI findings, decreasing the need for recent MRI or computed tomography imaging. Children with craniofacial abnormalities can often have significant refractive error causing amblyopia, so adherence to wearing glasses, which can be dependent on comfort, is needed.

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