During the Battle of Britain in World War II, England survived, thanks to the Royal Air Force, to which Winston Churchill paid tribute when he said that never was "so much owned by so many to so few." It was during this time that a British ophthalmologist, Ridley,1 noted that, when fragments of plastic material had been driven into the eye by an explosion or the impact of a bullet on the polymethyl methacrylate (Perspex) canopy of a fighter plane, tissue reaction was insignificant. The eye appeared to tolerate the plastic. As a result of this landmark observation, the first intraocular lens (IOL) soon became a reality.
Ridley's idea to implant an artificial lens in the posterior chamber proved successful in many patients in both England and the United States. However, microscopic surgery had not yet become routine, and the quality of the implants, instrumentation, and suture material fell
Tasman W. Are There Any Retinal Contraindications to Cataract Extraction and Posterior Chamber Lens Implants?. Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(12):1767-1768. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050240041035