Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adolf Eugen Fick (1829-1901)

Adolf Eugen Fick (1829-1901) was a German doctor and physiologist. He began studying medicine and ophthalmology and received his doctorate in 1875. In 1879 he contracted tuberculosis and emigrated to South Africa where the climate could possibly cure his illness. While in South Africa he became a physician, surgeon, and obstetrician and opened his own medical practice. However, in 1886 he returned to Germany and married Marie Wislicenus. Unfortunately, Marie contracted typhoid so the couple moved to Zurich in the same year. In Zurich he began to practice ophthalmology and investigate glass lenses.

Fick first took casts of his original test subjects, rabbits, before taking casts of human cadaver eyes. Using both casts he created bicurve lenses which he tested by wearing in his own left eye for two hours and allowing fellow colleagues to try them out as well. In his experiments to create contact lenses he also pursued trying to make “Glascornea” lenses made of ground glass shell which would be used in patients with irregular astigmatism. Although his colleagues dismissed his ideas at the time, it is estimated that over 125 million people worldwide wear contact lenses today.



  1. Your second paragraph starts off by talking about how he went about making the contacts without actually saying what he was making. Next time it should probably be a bit more clear. Additionally, some information about the end of his life would have rounded the post out a bit.

  2. I liked the way you brought his invention into the present and gave a lot of meaning to his work. there were a few gaps such as what happened to his consumption and when his wife contracted typhoid why did that force them to zurich. Otherwise I agree with Mike a bit more on his death would have ben nice.


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