Ophthalmology: Current and Future Developments

Volume: 4

History of Scleral Lenses

Author(s): Timothy J. Bowden and Melissa Barnett

Pp: 1-47 (47)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681085661117040004

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Scleral lenses have existed for centuries, longer than any other type of contact lens. They were first conceptualized by Leonardo DaVinci in the early 16th century and were first manufactured in Europe in the late 1800s. The first scleral lenses were blown glass scleral shells without power made in 1887 by Fredrich A. Müller and Albert C. Müller. The primary indication for these scleral lenses was to manage ocular surface disease. In 1889, Adolf Eugen Gaston Fick described the use of scleral lenses with optics added to correct vision. In 1889, Eugene Kalt described contact lenses as orthopedic appliances for the treatment of keratoconus. In that same year, August Müeller created a scleral lens for himself to correct his own 14D of high myopia. Modern advances of scleral lenses have overcome their previous shortcomings, including lens-induced corneal edema due to poor transmissibility of oxygen through the lens and poor reproducibility. Contemporary scleral lenses have re-emerged from a long history of contact lens successes and some failures. In recent years, there has been a burst of new designs and innovations worldwide. With modern materials, manufacturing, and advanced scanning equipment, scleral lenses are now very innovative and a million miles away from their early beginnings.

Keywords: Air bubble, Artificial eye, Blown glass contact lens, Cast, Clearance, Experiment, Fitting, Gas permeable, Glass, Glass mask, Impression, Keratoconus, Lens making, Material, Mold, Optician, PMMA, Refractive error, Scleral shell, Transitions.

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