60 years of pioneering IOL innovation

December 9, 2009

Rayner Intraocular Lens Limited, has marked a milestone with a celebration to honour the 60th anniversary of the implantation of the first intraocular lens (IOL) in a patient. The late Sir Harold Ridley implanted the first IOL on 29 November 1949 at St. Thomas Hospital in London. Due to the controversial nature of the surgery, this first surgery was conducted in almost total secrecy.

Rayner Intraocular Lens Limited, has marked a milestone with a celebration to honour the 60th anniversary of the implantation of the first intraocular lens (IOL) in a patient. The late Sir Harold Ridley implanted the first IOL on 29 November 1949 at St. Thomas Hospital in London. Due to the controversial nature of the surgery, this first surgery was conducted in almost total secrecy.

This anniversary is another landmark achievement for Rayner – highlighting its history as one of the great manufacturing success stories in East Sussex, as well as in the United Kingdom. Rayner was the world’s first manufacturer of IOLs, which changed the face of cataract surgery by eliminating the need for patients to wear thick glasses after surgery.

Just in time for the 60th anniversary celebration, Rayner received the Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade, the only IOL manufacturer to be bestowed with such an honour. Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant in East Sussex, Mr Peter Field, who was accompanied by Deputy Lieutenant Mr Hugh Burnett, formally presented the Queen’s Award to Rayner during a celebration in Brighton at the Royal Pavilion. The Award is given to an elite group of UK companies that excel in business performance. It recognises sustained international trade in overseas markets and growing commercial success, and positions Rayner among the most successful businesses in the United Kingdom.

As part of the recognition of this milestone, Celia Barlow, the MP for Hove and Portslade, made the following statement during Prime Minister’s Questions: “Will the Prime Minister join with me in marking sixty years since British surgeon, Sir Harold Ridley, commissioned the Hove company, Rayner, to produce the first ever intraocular lens? This month Rayner were presented with the Queens Award for Enterprise and still work with charities restoring sight across the globe.” In his response, Prime Minister Gordon Brown noted that Rayner is one of the many excellent companies in existence in Hove. He further acknowledged the inventions of British scientists, engineers, medical researchers and all the companies who contributed to the success of ophthalmic medicine.

“As Rayner marks 60 years of international intraocular lens success, I would like to underline our commitment to medical and scientific advancement, for without new applications for IOL technology, sound and reliable clinical results we can’t grow as a business,” elaborated Mr Donald J. Munro, chairman and managing director, Rayner Intraocular Lenses Ltd on the occasion.