Prof. Ing. RTDr. Otto Wichterle, MD. (October 27, 1913 – August 18, 1998) was the inventor of contact lenses. He was a world-renowned Czech scientist and inventor, working mainly in the field of macromolecular organic chemistry, as one of the founders of this field.
He is especially famous for his discoveries and inventions that led to substantial improvements and the worldwide spread of soft contact lenses. These results were based on his original research work in the field of hydrogels.
At the end of 1961, in his flat, he succeeded in proving that high-quality soft contact lenses can be produced with minimal cost by the monomeric centrifugal casting method in rotating forms. The first device for the production of contact lenses is well known: it is an apparatus made up of a children’s construction set, Merkur, with a bicycle dynamo as the engine and later with the motor of a turntable.