Dr. Ridley’s Gift to the World: The little known story behind the development of the intraocular lens
Here’s a little eye surgery trivia for you. This canopy from a British Spitfire fighter plane gave Sir Harold Ridley the idea for the intraocular lens. A fighter pilot in the Second World War was shot down and a fragment of the canopy entered his eye.
Normally, the eye rejects any foreign body with a violent inflammatory immune response. In the case of the fighter pilot, however, the eye remained quiet. Dr Ridley realized he could make clear lenses out of the same material of the canopy and implant these lenses in the eyes of patients who had their natural lens removed with cataract surgery.
Thus was born the intraocular lens (IOL) and, thanks to Dr Ridley’s amazing insight, tens of millions of patients who would otherwise be blind have had their vision restored. Sadly, Dr. Ridley was vilified by the medical establishment during most of his career, and it wasn’t until near the end of his life that his contributions were appreciated.
A magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University, Dr. Schulze went on to study English literature at Oxford University, receiving his M. Phil. degree, before graduating with his M.D. from the University of Virginia in 1990. He performed his internship at Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Virginia before moving on to his residency in ophthalmology at the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans.
After a year of fellowship training in anterior segment surgery of the eye at the Kentucky Eye Institute, Dr. Schulze, Jr. returned home to Savannah in partnership with his father. Dr. Schulze, Jr. is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Ophthalmogy, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, the International Society of Refractive Surgery, and the Medical Advisory Board of the Georgia Eye Bank.
Dr. Schulze, Jr. specializes in cataract and refractive surgery. Outside of ophthalmology, his interests include windsurfing, sailing, fishing, hunting, farming, and literature.