Assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School Perry Rosenthal has been selected as a finalist for the JP Morgan Chase Health Award at the Tech Museum of Innovation Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc. The founder of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary’s Contact Lens Service, Rosenthal was elected for his involvement in the development of vision-rehabilitating contact lenses.
Conducted independently by Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, the Tech Museum Awards are designed to recognize individuals and organizations that develop or adapt technology to solve global challenges and have a high potential of yielding a lasting, beneficial impact.
Each year, the awards honor innovators from around the world in five universal categories: education, equality, environment, economic development, and health. This year, more than 460 nominations were received from 59 countries. One winner from each category will receive a $50,000 honorarium, to be presented at a ceremony on Nov. 7 in San Jose, Calif.
“The recognition of our work by the Tech Museum of Innovation,” Rosenthal said, “has energized our mission to provide our vision-restoring contact lenses to the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who are visually disabled from corneal diseases and can benefit from our technology – regardless of the patient’s ability to pay or where they live.”
Rosenthal developed a unique family of contact lenses that have rehabilitated the vision of hundreds of patients with corneal diseases, more than half of whom had no other options for recovering functional eyesight. Unlike conventional contact lenses, the quarter-size Boston Scleral Lens maintains a cushion of oxygenated artificial tears over the fragile diseased cornea that neutralizes much of its surface defects to restore vision while providing a healing environment. The product of more than 15 years of research, the lenses incorporate state-of-the-art polymer chemistry and a patented computer design/manufacturing program. Rosenthal’s clinical team has achieved a success rate of more than 80 percent in rehabilitating the vision and eliminating the eye pain for people who suffer from blinding eye diseases, for which there had been no definitive treatment.