CONTACT LENS HISTORY
THE OVERSEAS PIONEERS
The Mueller Brothers
earliest contact lenses owe their development to artificial eye makers of the
19th century. The Thueringen area of
In 1887 a Dr Samisch referred a patient who was already blind in the left eye because of cataract and whose right eyelids had been partially removed because of cancer. It was anticipated that this eye would also be lost as a result of desiccation. Mueller blew a thin glass shell, like an artificial eye, and fitted it to the right eye for protection. Reports state that the patient continued to use the Muellerschen Kontakt-schale night and day, retaining usable vision until his death in 1907. The shell had a clear corneal section whilst the scleral portion was opaque with artificial veining to match the other eye. This was a feature of Mueller lenses for some time to come, concealing any redness caused by discomfort and hypoxia. Breakage on dropping and corrosion by the tears was common, with a typical life expectancy of 12 - 18 months.
Friedrich Edward, (1891-1945) son of Friedrich Anton, also used the Mueller lenses and on the 2nd August 1920 presented his doctoral thesis as Uber die korrektion des Keratokonus und anderer Brechungsanomalien des Auges mit Muellerschen Kontaktschalen. His thesis reported on 11 keratoconic patients aged 22-58, wearing lenses for 1-8 years. He concluded that Mueller lenses could be worn for the correction of keratoconus and other visual defects without irritation; were safe for continuous wear, optically correct but not as accurate as ground lenses, were cosmetically very good and able to re-shape deformed corneas with light pressure, would arrest the growth of a developing cone and were easy to handle.
Friedrich Anton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Gottingen
in 1925. The firm still exists in Wiesbaden, under Christoph
Mueller-Uri, making artificial eyes although it no longer makes
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