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June 1999

Harold Ridley, MA, MD, FRCS: A Golden Anniversary Celebration and a Golden Age

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117(6):827-828. doi:10.1001/archopht.117.6.827

The greatest fear known to man is a new idea. If you have strong reasons to believe in your ideas, have confidence—face the brickbats and go ahead.—Harold Ridley, MA, MD, FRCS.

AS WE APPROACH the year 2000, we in ophthalmology and the visual sciences celebrate not only the transition into the new millennium, but also the 50th anniversary of one of this century's most important innovations in eye care—Harold Ridley's invention of the intraocular lens (IOL).1-8 This anniversary will literally straddle the turn of the century. The first operation, done at St Thomas' Hospital, London, England, was a 2-step procedure.1 The extracapsular removal of the cataract occurred on November 29, 1949.5-7 The insertion of the pseudophakos manufactured by Rayner Ltd, London, was a secondary procedure performed on February 8, 1950, after Ridley had verified that the eye was quiet and suitable for implantation (David Spalton, MD, written communication, December 1998).

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