The 75th anniversary of the Tuohy corneal contact lens: A review

Published:September 26, 2022DOI:


      The aim of this review is to mark the 75th anniversary of the introduction of the original corneal contact lens of Tuohy in 1948.
      American documents in the public domain, such as census records and draft registration cards, were consulted in order to provide a more comprehensive biography of Kevin M Tuohy, inventor of the corneal contact lens, than those previously published.
      Perhaps due to a failure to consult original sources concerning the Tuohy corneal lens, some historical accounts have provided incomplete or incorrect information about its design and dimensions. The back surface specification of the bi-curve Tuohy lens in its standard diameter of 11.50 mm has been tabulated and edge lift and edge clearance values calculated. A colour photograph illustrates the fluorescein pattern of a Tuohy lens.
      Patients wearing Tuohy lenses were able to achieve a much longer wearing time compared to those wearing sealed scleral lenses since they eliminated corneal epithelial oedema, a frequent problem which necessitated removal of lenses after a few hours of wear due to cloudy vision. Only some of Tuohy lens wearers exhibited an adverse corneal response such as fluorescein staining after 12, or more, hours of wear.
      The clinical success of the Tuohy lens and the fact that its fitting procedure was simpler and quicker than that for scleral lenses encouraged optometrists to commence contact lens practice and to implement improvements in the design of the corneal lens.


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