CONTACT LENS HISTORY
THE UK PIONEERS
Josef Dallos was born in
Dallos developed a moulding technique using Negocol and
Hominite - the first method to be used on the living eye to produce a successful
contact lens. In 1933 he published
his first article on contact lenses, 'Ueber Haftglaser und Kontactschalen'.
The same year he was granted a Hungarian patent for producing lenses that
could be stabilised under the eyelids without touching the cornea and also
gained specialist registration as an Ophthalmologist.
One of his early supporters was Professor Sattler and he was visited by
ophthalmologists from all over the world. These
included Rugg-Gunn, Williamson-Noble and Mann from the
The first paper by Dallos on contact lenses in 1933
In May 1937 he moved to
Dallos used both corneal and soft lenses for cosmetic
purposes. For ophthalmic pathology
he preferred flush-fitting ventilated glass sclerals.
Nissel estimated that between 1937 and 1964 Dallos fitted 6,000-7,000
patients with sclerals. He was the
first - together with Bier - to describe fenestration in order to avoid
corneal oedema and to increase wearing time.
Ezekiel describes how:
"He told of a patient with Keratoconus who needed a small amount of lens removed to eliminate an area of touch. Unfortunately, a hole was made in the lens. Dallos polished the hole, apologised to the patient for his mistake and told him that he would make another lens. Lenses were made from glass and being a long weekend, it would be ready later the following week. The patient did not return for some months. When he eventually returned Dallos asked him why he did not return. He told Dallos all was fine and he was wearing the lens the full day. Dallos then said to me, 'it was then a matter of working out where to place the fenestration.'"
Patient instruction leaflets from the 1940s
In 1964 he set up his own
rooms at 17 Devonshire Place
equipping them for glass and corneal lens manufacture.
Some of his many assistants were Stephen Gordon, Robert Turner, Anne
Silk, Don Ezekiel, Roy Hampson and Ted Meredith.
Josef Dallos never retired, attending his practice every day until his
death in the summer of 1979. Ida
Mann described Dallos as "Devious, emotional, secretive personality...a touch
of genius maybe... and damned difficult to deal with."
Further accounts describe his superhuman energy, quick temper but
readiness to apologise. He had no
sense of time and he never cared about money.
The BCLA commemorates his name with the annual Dallos Research Award.
This is intended to fund a contact lens research project, the first being given
A commemorative plaque to Josef Dallos was unveiled at 18 Cavendish Square, London, on 23 June 2010.
Commemorative plaque to Josef Dallos unveiled at 18 Cavendish Square, London, on 23 June 2010.
'Ueber Haftglaser und Kontactschalen', Klin. Mbl. fur Augenheilk, 91, November 1933, 640-659.
'The Individual Fitting of Contact Lenses', Trans. Ophthmol. Soc. UK, 57 (part 2): 509, 1937.
'Sattler's Veil', Brit. J. Ophthmol., p. 606, Oct. 1946.
'Dr Joseph Dallos - An Appreciation', Anthony G. Sabell, Contact
Lens J 8 (5) 1979, 16-18
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