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Open Access: Ptosis Crutch (3-D Print Files)

Ocular Myasthenia Gravis (MG) affects eye muscles, resulting in the patients struggling to control and raise their eyelids (drooping eyelids) which can impact their line of sight and general vision.  The Ptosis Crutch, developed by the Biomedical Engineering group is an adjustable crutch that can be fitted to spectacles to support one or both eyelids. 

Current remedies include surgery, medication or the use of a crutch, but patients with the active Ocular MG disease are not advised to undergo surgery because they may have to undergo multiple surgeries to keep correcting a droopy eyelid. Also, not all patients can afford medication or respond to it, in which cases the ptosis crutch is the best option.

UCT inventors Dr Sudesh Sivarasu, Megan Findlay and Prof. Jeannine Heckmann designed an adjustable ptosis device which offers asimple, effective and unobtrusive solution to elevate the drooping upper eyelid(s) above the visual axis of the Ocular MG patients. Compared to the permanently fitted crutches on the spectacles, the UCT-developed Ptosis Crutch offers the following additional benefits:

  • modularity in fixing the crutches on to the patient’s own spectacles.         
  • it can be detached from a patient’s spectacles,
  • the crutch bar makes contact with the eyelid at the position of the eye crease and it is manufactured from a material that is comfortable to skin and allows the patient to blink without much effort,
  • it is modular and adjustable to fit the protrusion and size of their eyelid as well as the required elevation for the eyelid to clear the visual axis,
  • it is able to be manufactured at low cost via 3D printing.
  • The cost of the device allows this to be a fully disposable device
  • The device could be used for multiple other clinical conditions as well

UCT received approval from the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) to release the medical device into the public domain for free use.  

Files for the 3D printing are available, so that a medical practitioner can facilitate the ‘printing’ of a devices for their patients as required.   Contact the inventor for more information and print files: Assoc Prof Sudesh Sivarasu [insert link ].