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October 15, 2012 - Harry Zelzter, OD 1952, Inventor of the X-Chrom Lens

Dr. Harry Zeltzer ’52, the inventor of a red contact lens which helps patients compensate for color deficiency, has assigned future royalties from the Zeltzer X-Chrom lens to New England College of Optometry.


In the late 1950’s, Dr. Zeltzer developed the idea in collaboration with a colorblind patient who had been using a handheld red lens in front of one eye to increase his appreciation of colors. Dr. Zelzter investigated and narrowed down colors to a single bandwidth of red, and convinced a local contact lens manufacturer to produce rigid lenses for this purpose. Over time, soft lenses became more commonly used.


Zelzter X-Chrom lenses are now manufactured and sold exclusively by Adventures in Color, a soft contact lens company that specializes in unique applications of colored lenses for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. 


Although Dr. Zelzter is retired from his practice in Waltham, MA, he devotes his time to humanitarian care in underserved countries, including several years as President of VOSH International. He resides with his wife, Joan, in Ipswich, MA, where they maintain an antique dealership.

Drs. Zeltzer and Scott discussing the merits of the X-Chrom lens.



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