CONTACT LENS HISTORY
The Early Years
[ Zeiss ] [ Abbe ] [ Schott ] [Von Rohr ] [ Hartinger ]
(1816-1888) started his firm in Jena in 1846. Zeiss was an engineer who
initially made simple microscopes. By
1856 he had a staff of 20 which grew to 200 in 1864 and he produced the 1000th
microscope in 1866. Abbe became a
partner with Carl Zeiss in 1875 and they were later joined by Carl's son,
Roderich. By 1888 Zeiss employed 250
people and had manufactured its 10,000th microscope.
In addition, Zeiss had made contact lenses for Adolf Fick.
(1840-1905) graduated from
Schott (1851-1935) came of parents who ran a small glass
works in Mitten where, after studying Chemistry, he worked in the basement,
researching scientific methods of glass production.
Around 1880 Schott approached Abbe to test a small batch of Lithium
glass. Although still containing
striae and bubbles, Abbe realised it was exceptional and set up a new laboratory
approached Abbe, as a leading optical expert, to make his contact shells and
Abbe delegated the calculation of these to 20 year old Moritz Von Rohr (1868-1940). In
1908 Von Rohr worked with Swedish ophthalmologist Allvar Gullstrand to develop
better spectacle lenses. Von Rohr
used contact lenses to make himself ametropic in order to test the effect of
corrective spectacle lenses. In 1911
the Zeiss company started the production of contact lenses and produced their
first fitting sets the following year. In
1916 Zeiss introduced the first set specifically for keratoconus and during the
1920s they supplied trial sets of first 4, then 21 and eventually 30 glass
scleral lenses. Zeiss made various
attempts to produce glass corneal lenses in 1912, 1923, 1932 and the early
1960s. The lack of success was due
to inherent problems with the glass.
Moritz Von Rohr
(1891-1960) was the head of the Zeiss Department for Visual Aids and
Medico-Optical Devices 1926-1945, publishing widely on scleral contact lenses.
With Ferdinand Fertsch he applied for a
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