A cross-over, randomised feasibility study of digitally printed versus hand-painted artificial eyes in adults: PERSONAL-EYE-S - a study protocol

Taras Gout, Tim Zoltie, Amie Louise Woodward, Elizabeth Coleman, Florien Boele, Bernard Chang, Paul Bartlett, Sarah Jane Ronaldson, George Kalantzis, Mike Theaker, Nabil El-Hindy, Emma Walshaw, Jude Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/objectives: Around 11,500 artificial eyes are required yearly for new and existing patients. Artificial eyes have been manufactured and hand-painted at the National Artificial Eye Service (NAES) since 1948, in conjunction with approximately 30 local artificial eye services throughout the country. With the current scale of demand, services are under significant pressure. Manufacturing delays as well as necessary repainting to obtain adequate colour matching, may severely impact a patient’s rehabilitation pathway to a normal home, social and work life. However, advances in technology mean alternatives are now possible. The aim of this study is to establish the feasibility of conducting a large-scale study of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of digitally printed artificial eyes compared to hand-painted eyes.
Methods: A cross-over, randomised feasibility study evaluating a digitally-printed artificial eye with a hand-painted eye, in patients aged ≥18 years with a current artificial eye. Participants will be identified in clinic, via ophthalmology clinic databases and two charity websites. Qualitative interviews will be conducted in the later phases of the study and focus on opinions on trial procedures, the different artificial eyes, delivery times, and patient satisfaction.
Discussion: Findings will inform the feasibility, and design, of a larger fully powered randomised controlled trial. The long-term aim is to create a more life-like artificial eye in order to improve patients’ initial rehabilitation pathway, long term quality of life, and service experience. This will allow the transition of research findings into benefit to patients locally in the short term and National Health Service wide in the medium to long term.
ISRCTN registration: ISRCTN85921622 (prospectively registered on 17/06/2021)
Original languageEnglish
Article number50
Number of pages17
JournalNIHR Open Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

© Crown copyright, 2023 Gout T et al. This open access work is licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Cite this