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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. The resulting drooping eyelids can impact their line of sight, general vision and quality of life.  The Ptosis Crutch, developed by the UCT Biomedical Engineering group is an adjustable crutch that can be fitted to spectacles to support one or both eyelids. 

Currently the condition is treated through surgery, medication or the use of a crutch. Surgery is often the last resort that patients use because of the discomfort and varying results that may arise. 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 a simple, effective and unobtrusive solution to elevate the drooping upper eyelid(s) above the visual axis of patients with Ocular MG. The UCT-developed Ptosis Crutch prototype offers the following additional benefits compared to permanently fixed crutches:

  • he crutch bar makes contact with the eyelid at the position of the eye crease and the material used is comfortable to skin and allows the patient to blink,        
  • 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 can be manufactured at low cost via 3D printing,
  • it can be fully disposed of

After receiving approval from the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), UCT can provide prototypes of the device under open source license.  The researchers are keen to interact with recipients and users, and the open source arrangements enable this while increasing the availability of the Ptosis Crutch device. 

The devices are available upon request. It is envisaged that eventually medical practitioners can facilitate the ‘printing’ of a devices for their patients as required.   Contact the inventor for more information: Assoc Prof Sudesh Sivarasu [Sudesh.Sivarasu@uct.ac.za ] and Research Contracts and Innovation for access to this device.