Harold Ridley (ophthalmologist)
Sir Nicholas Harold Lloyd Ridley  (10 July 1906, Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire – 25 May 2001, Salisbury, Wiltshire) was an English ophthalmologist who invented the intraocular lens and pioneered intraocular lens surgery for cataract patients.
Nicholas Harold Lloyd Ridley was the son of Nicholas Charles Ridley and his wife Margaret, née Parker; he had a younger brother, Olden. Harold had a stammer which he largely managed to cure. He was very fond as a lapchild of Florence Nightingale, a very close friend of his mother. He was educated at Charterhouse School before studying at Pembroke College, Cambridge from 1924–1927, and completed his medical training in 1930 at St Thomas' Hospital. Subsequently he worked as a surgeon at Moorfield Eye Hospital and St Thomas' Hospital in London, specialising in ophthalmology. In 1938 Ridley was appointed full surgeon and consultant at Moorfields Hospital and later appointed consulted surgeon in 1946.
Cataract operations and intraocular lenses
During World War II, Ridley saw Royal Air Force casualties with eye injuries and noticed that when splinters of acrylic plastic from aircraft cockpit canopies became lodged in the eyes of wounded pilots, they did not trigger rejection as glass splinters did, leading him to propose the use of artificial lenses in the eye to correct cases of cataracts.
He had a lens manufactured using the same material — brand name Perspex made by ICI — and on 29 November 1949 at St Thomas' Hospital, Harold Ridley achieved the first implant of an intraocular lens, although it was not until 1950 that he left an artificial lens permanently in place in an eye. The first lens was manufactured by the Rayner company of Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, a company which continues to manufacture and market modern, small-incision versions of these lenses today.
In 1952 the first IOL implant was performed in the United States, a Ridley-Rayner lens implanted at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
Ridley pioneered this treatment in the face of prolonged strong opposition from the medical community. He worked hard to overcome complications, and had refined his technique by the late 1960s. With his pupil Peter Choyce he eventually achieved worldwide support for the technique. The intraocular lens was finally approved as "safe and effective" and approved for use in the USA by the Food and Drug Administration in 1981. The first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lenses, (Choyce Mark VIII and Choyce Mark IX Anterior Chamber lenses) were manufactured by Rayner.
Cataract extraction surgery with intraocular lens implantation is now the most common type of eye surgery.
The Intra-Ocular Implant Club (IIIC)
The Club was founded in 1966 by Ridley and Peter Choyce, to promote research in the field of IOL implantation. At that time there was widespread opposition in the profession to the use of IOLs. The founders saw the club as a forum to allow free and unhindered exchange of ideas about IOLs and implantation surgical techniques. From the outset it was international in its membership and set itself a parental and advisory role for the then nascent national societies to develop in each country for intraocular implant surgeons. However, this global role was only acknowledged in the name change in July 1975, when the Intra-Ocular Implant Club became The International Intra-Ocular Implant Club. (IIIC).
The Ridley Eye Foundation
In 1967 Ridley set up the Ridley Eye Foundation, to raise funds for cataract surgery in developing countries and to treat avoidable blindness. This charitable organisation continues to be active in these fields today, notably in the Middle East.
Other work and later life
Ridley retired from NHS hospital service in 1971.
Sir Harold Ridley resided in Wiltshire until his death on 25 May 2001.
Recognition and awards
Ridley received many awards in the last twenty years of his life.
In February 2000, Harold Ridley was knighted by HM Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London. This award was the culmination of years of lobbying work by Ridley's biographer (David J Apple), surgeon friends such as Emanuel Rosen and Thomas Neuhann with leaders of industry such as Donald J Munro, Chairman and Managing Director of Rayner company of Brighton & Hove, UK.
A Heritage Blue plaque to commemorate his groundbreaking work was installed in Kibworth Harcourt on 18 February 2012, thanks to the research carried out by Bob Haggerty, a local resident who has himself had an intraocular lens fitted, and supported by Kibworth Improvement Team (KiT), the local community partnership.
- Apple, D. J. (2007). "Nicholas Harold Lloyd Ridley. 10 July 1906 -- 25 May 2001: Elected FRS 1986". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 53: 285–307. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2007.0022. PMID 18543467.
- Sir Nicholas Harold Lloyd Ridley at Britannica.com
- Apple, David J (2006). Sir Harold Ridley and his fight for sight. SLACK incorporated. ISBN 1-55642-786-7.
- Letocha, C E; Pavlin CJ. (Apr 1999). "Follow-up of 3 patients with Ridley intraocular lens implantation.". J Cataract Refract Surg. 25 (4): 587–591. PMID 10198869.
- Pandey, S. K; Apple, D. J. (2005). "Professor Peter Choyce: an early pioneer of intraocular lenses and corneal/refractive surgery. Presented in part at 17th annual meeting of Cogan Ophthalmic History Society, 16–18 April 2004, Toledo, OH, USA.". Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology 33: 288–293. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9071.2005.01005.x.
- "Welcome to IIIClub.org". The International Intra-Ocular Implant Club.
- "Rayner IOL History 1966-1975 Intraocular Implant Club". Rayner Intraocular Lenses Limited.
- "The Ridley Eye Foundation".
- "Commemorating Sir Harold Ridley’s birthplace".
- haroldridley.com site about the biography by David J. Apple, M.D.
- The Ridley Eye Foundation
- "A visionary recognised" profile marking the centenary of his birth in The Times September 22, 2006
- "Sir Harold Ridley" in Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today March 2004
- "A pioneer in the quest to eradicate world blindness" in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2003
- "He changed the world - So that we might better see it" in the Arquivos Brasileiros de Oftalmologia February 2002
- "Valediction: Sir Harold Ridley's vision" in the British Journal of Ophthalmology September 2001
- The Birth of the IOL part of the history of Rayner, manufacturer of the first IOL
- "Harold Ridley and the Invention of the IOL" in Survey of Ophthalmology January 1996
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