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In many fields of science we have seen that ideas have been born, attempts made to nurture and develop them, and much labor expended, only to find that the inherently sound idea is incapable of maturing into a practical, workable thing. Not infrequently this failure results from currently inadequate materials, instrumentation, or knowledge. Then, with the development of technology in apparently unrelated fields, the missing element may be provided and the original idea forthwith carried to fruition.
The use of alloplastic materials of one sort or another for repairing defects in the human mechanism is an ancient idea. Specifically, corneal prosthetic devices were tried as early as 1771 and repeatedly since then. Failures were due to the inherently faulty nature of the materials used as well as to inadequate instrumentation and technology.
The recent revival of interest in corneal prostheses, carried out more or less independently by several groups here
De Voe AG. Artificial Corneas. Arch Ophthalmol. 1963;69(6):689-690. doi:10.1001/archopht.1963.00960040695001