Science

Otto Wichterle Invented Contact Lenses To Help The World See Better Than Ever – India Times


Google today honoured renowned chemist Otto Wichterle who gave the world the first-ever soft contact lens that truly altered the lives of millions on this planet. The doodle celebrated the Czech inventor on his 108th birthday. 

google doodle
Google

Also Read: Soon, Contact Lenses May Be Able To Measure Blood Sugar Level And Even Detect Cancer

Who was Otto Wichterle?

Wichterle was born on October 27, 1913, in Prostĕjov, in the Czech Republic. With piquing scientific curiosity from a very young age, Wichterle went on to complete his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Prague Institute of Chemical Technology in the year 1936.

Otto wichterle
Wikipedia

During the 1950s he taught at the aforementioned institute as a professor while also working on an absorbent and transparent gel for eye implants. However, political turmoil forced Wichterle to leave the institute.

Also Read: Scientists Make Lenses With Gold Particles To Fix Colour Blindness

Developing soft contact lenses

However, he didn’t quit working on the transparent gel. He would then go ahead and continue developing the gel at his home and in 1961, he brought to the world the first-ever soft contact lenses.

otto wichterle
Tresbohemes.com

He prepared a DIY apparatus made using a child’s erector set, a bicycle light battery, a phonograph motor and homemade glass tubing and moulds. 

Not just contact lenses though

However, contact lenses aren’t the only thing he’s remembered for. He also laid the foundation for smart biomaterials that are used to restore human connective tissues and bio-recognisable polymers that have been an inspiration for a new standard for drug administration. 

Also Read: New Lenses Give ‘Superhuman’ Vision

otto wichterle
Tresbohemes.com

Awards and accolades

For his contributions and inventions that truly revolutionised the world, he was elected as the first President of the Academy of Czech Republic after the country was established in the year 1993. 

In the same year, the asteroid number 3899 was named after Wichterle. Moreover, a high school in Ostrava (in the district of Poruba) in the Czech Republic was named after him on September 1, 2006. Wichterle passed away on August 18, 1998 at the age of 84 years. 

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