Harold Ridley, FRS

  • Presented: 
  • Recognition: 
    ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame

“You’ve seen the fruits of your labors, and we’re all eternally grateful to you, both as physicians, as patients, and as fellow human beings.” —Manus C. Kraff, MD

During World War II, Harold Ridley observed that aviators could tolerate shards of PMMA aircraft canopies in their eyes. He used this knowledge to create and implant the first intraocular lens in a two-step procedure between 1949 and 1950. Three years later, he supervised the first IOL implantation in the U.S. and later served as the first president of the International Intra-Ocular Implant Club. Ridley’s cure for aphakia, once ridiculed by his peers, is now a routine part of cataract surgery. In addition to being the father of the intraocular lens, Ridley has also made important contributions to tropical medicine. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in England in 1986 for his contributions to science and is now retired in Salisbury, England.