11.01.2012

Contact lens pioneer dies aged 91

Contact lens pioneer dies aged 91

By Martin Burns

Tributes have poured in for a man who helped to pioneer the modern contact lens, who could count baseball stars and the president of the United States as an early adopter of his products.

Joe Goldberg, from Norfolk, Virginia, died at the age 91 after a lifetime devoted to enhancing people's vision, which included having a major role in the development of contact lenses as we now know them, Hampton Road reported.

Although Leonardo da Vinci is credited with coming up with the original idea for the contact lens in the 1500s, Dr Goldberg is credited with perfecting the mass production of the items after opening a laboratory on Granby Street in 1957.

His improvements included making softer, more permeable lenses that could be reused, with the baseball player Hank Follies among his customers.

However, the most famous customer of all was undoubtedly the man who was running the country, revealed May Swan, Dr Goldberg's daughter.

She told the website that an order cam in one day in the 1980s and Dr Goldberg was shocked to discover the customer's identity: "Ronald Reagan. The president wore my father's contacts."

by Emily Tait


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