Did you know …

… that Monet created his vibrant colors with the aid of ZEISS lenses?

Part 7: Did you know …

… that Monet created his vibrant colors with the aid of ZEISS lenses?

The great Impressionist painter Claude Monet was nearsighted – and had cataracts as well. In 1923 he underwent cataract surgery, and then bought new glasses featuring special ZEISS “Katral” lenses designed for cataract patients. With the new lenses Monet was finally able to see what his paintings really looked like – and he was disappointed by the dull colors he now perceived. He immediately started painting over many of his completed pictures with brighter colors – even his marvelous water lily paintings, whose freshness and clarity still enchant us to this very day.

Claude Monet, who was born in 1840 and died in 1926, is one of the most famous French painters. He left his indelible mark on the Impressionist movement. Reflections and his specially selected colors are the hallmarks of his painting. Impressionist art focuses on the interaction of light, shadow and colors instead of portraying objects. His painting entitled “Impression, soleil levant” from 1872 gave the entire movement its name.

Who would ever have thought that this outstanding artist had serious problems with his eyes? Claude Monet was nearsighted and suffered from cataracts. He hesitated about having surgery for a long time before eventually making the decision in 1923. Afterwards, he purchased two pairs of glasses from eye doctor E.B. Meyrowitz near the Place Vendôme in Paris.

These glasses featured glass lenses from ZEISS. One pair had clear and the other tinted lenses, each in tortoiseshell frames. These lenses were called Katral.

ZEISS started producing Katral lenses for patients who had undergone cataract surgery in a complex production process in 1912. They cost the equivalent of the rent charged for a four-room luxury apartment in a major European city at the time. As a relatively affluent painter, Claude Monet was able to afford these lenses in the later years of his life. They enabled him to pursue his artistic endeavors with even more fervor and enthusiasm than ever before. He suddenly saw that the colors he had been using until then had been too dull and promptly chose brighter ones.

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The treatment of cataracts today

Cataracts are seen as the most common cause of blindness all over the world. The condition generally affects people in old age. The disease leads to clouding of the lens in the eye, with the result that sufferers feel as if they are looking through a veil or curtain. It can cause total blindness if left untreated.

Today, however, cataract treatment is easier and more effective than ever before. In an uncomplicated procedure, the lens of the eye is removed and a lens implant known as an intraocular lens is inserted. The two eyes are operated on separately. Leading-edge technology from ZEISS is used for the diagnosis and treatment of the condition..

The ZEISS product range still includes cataract glasses, but in actual fact they are no longer necessary. The patient can wear glasses containing any remaining prescription power that they require. The eye care professional will fit these in the normal way.