An Eventful Past, a Promising Future

ZEISS celebrates 175 years as a company and therefore also the history of optometry

The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century was in full swing when Carl Zeiss opened his workshop for precision mechanics and optics in Jena, Germany, on November 17, 1846. One hundred and seventy-five years later, ZEISS is now a global technology group and leading manufacturer of eyeglass lenses and optical instruments.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. In the years that followed, Carl Zeiss – who also sold eyeglass lenses from other manufacturers in his own business until 1880 – focused on the manufacture of microscopes. It was only in 1908 that Moritz von Rohr, who previously oversaw the development of microscopes at the company, once again began working on the concept of “eyeglasses as an optical instrument” at ZEISS. Together with Swedish optician Allvar Gullstrand, von Rohr took decisive steps toward establishing the field of ophthalmology, invented the PUNKTAL precision eyeglass lens, and founded “Opto,” or the optometry division, at ZEISS. He quickly realized that the high-precision lenses also needed to be sold by professionals with the relevant qualifications. The commitment von Rohr demonstrated to setting up a vocational school for optometry is just one example of how ZEISS has been promoting research and training right from the start. In other words, the scientific and educational concerns that von Rohr was already pursuing at the time continue to be relevant today. And the development of precision eyeglass lenses and instruments for adjusting eyewear as well as continuous enhancements in materials and manufacturing processes have been central pillars of the company’s success ever since.

When you have an item as important as eyeglasses, it is worth expending no small amount of effort on telling its whole story […]

Moritz von Rohr, June 1934

Stories from the History of ZEISS Vision Care

The History of Progressive Lenses
Timetravel: UV Protection
Freeform: Development of Eyeglass Lenses 2000-2020
Digitalizing Centration for more than 25 Years

Seeing Beyond

Find out more about the history of ZEISS, read exciting stories and dive into the world of optics. Visit the official 175 years at ZEISS page.

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ZEISS Vision Care
Joachim Kuss
Mail: joachim .kuss @zeiss .com

Phone: +49 (0) 151 42112288

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