CONTACT LENS HISTORY
THE UK PIONEERS
Arthur Bennett, despite winning a scholarship to Haberdashers' School, originally went into banking during the 1930s. He soon joined Willesden Optical Company as a spectacle lens worker.
By 1945 Bennett had moved to the more prestigious Stigmat
which announced its intention to manufacture contact lenses.
Two years later Bennett redesigned an offset zonal scleral lens.
This had been suggested by McKellen after the latter had visited the
In 1951 Bennett became Senior Technical Officer in the Inspectorate of Medical Supplies at the Ministry of Health where he stayed until1962. During this time he continued the work begun at Stigmat on British Standards for spectacle lenses and frames. In the late 1950s and 1960s Bennett was an ad hoc consultant to Keeler's on the lens computations for their low vision aids and ophthalmic instruments.
He became an evening lecturer in visual optics at Northampton Polytechnic where he was renowned for his erudition, lucidity and sense of humour. In 1949 he published the original edition of his Optics of contact Lenses, the first book to look at the optical aspect of prescribing. He continued his mathematical analysis with the advent of soft lenses. He also undertook the task of completing, mounting and cataloguing of the BOA collection of ophthalmic lenses. Altogether, Arthur Bennett published 200 papers, 7 books and contributed to numerous others
Bennett was honoured with the Owen Aves Medal in 1969 and
in 1988 with a colloquium at
'Optical Factors in Contact Lens Prescribing', Optician, p. 397, 21 Nov. 1947.
The Optics of Contact Lenses, London: 1949
'Power Changes in Soft Lenses Due to Bending', Ophthal.
Opt, 16, 939-945, 1976.
'Aspheric and Continuous Curve Contact Lenses', OT, 1988.
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