3D printed reproductions of orbital dissections: a novel mode of visualising anatomy for trainees in ophthalmology or optometry

Justin W Adams, Lisa K Paxton, Kathryn F Dawes, Kateryna Burlak, Michelle Quayle, Paul G McMenamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The teaching of human head, neck and orbital anatomy forms a critical part of undergraduate and postgraduate medical and allied health professional training, including optometry. While still largely grounded in cadaveric dissection, this method of instruction is constrained in some countries and regional areas by access to real human cadavers, costs of cadaver bequest programmes, health and safety of students and staff and the shortage of adequate time in modern curricula. Many candidates choosing a postgraduate pathway in ophthalmological training, such as those accepted into the Royal Colleges of Ophthalmology in the UK, Australia and New Zealand programmes and the American Academy of Ophthalmologists in the USA, are compelled as adult learners to revise or revisit human orbital anatomy, ocular anatomy and select areas of head and neck anatomy. These candidates are often then faced with the issue of accessing facilities with dissected human cadaveric material. METHODS: In light of these difficulties, we developed a novel means of creating high-resolution reproductions of prosected human cadaver orbits suitable for education and training. RESULTS: 3D printed copies of cadaveric orbital dissections (superior, lateral and medial views) showing a range of anatomical features were created. DISCUSSION: These 3D prints offer many advantages over plastinated specimens as they are suitable for rapid reproduction and as they are not human tissue they avoid cultural and ethical issues associated with viewing cadaver specimens. In addition, they are suitable for use in the office, home, laboratory or clinical setting in any part of the world for patient and doctor education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1162 - 1167
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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