Don Whitney & Ophthalmic Optics
Files in PDF Format
compiled by Dick Whitney

Dad spent the years between 1947 and his death in 1998 dealing with ophthalmic optics. I decided to include some of Don Whitney's technical writings, as if one is searching to learn about AO, there may indeed be an interest for some to read about aspects of Ophthalmic Optics. One paper which he wrote while at AO was a paper written with the intent of publication. It dealt with Prentice's Rule. Dad wrote it with the intention of it being published. This never occurred, so I am publishing it here for all to read!

Another paper that he wrote that I find interesting, was actually a memo written to me on plano lenses (see #2 below). This was at a time that he had "retired" from a full time position at AO and was now a consultant. During that period I learned a lot from him as there was no longer a conflict of interest for me to work with him. I also benefitted greatly from working with Dave LaMarre and Dr. John Winthrop.

Summary of Don Whitney Ophthalmic Optics Technical Papers available here:

Plano Lenses

1.) Prentice's Rule - Its Application and Limitiations (with some thoughts about Plano Lenses) - 2/12/82   Appendix Diagram - 30-Apr-06

Optical Heritage Museum collection-
AO Gift to Charles Prentice (1919-20); earlier in 1900 he designed the first trial lens set for the Industry and AO

2.)  Plano lenses (memo from April 28, 1985) Rev 11/19/02 Corrected diagram at top of page 4

Focimetry Info

3.) AO Letter to Federal Trade Commission discussing accuracy / operator repeatability of the AO Lensometer:

4.) Add Power measurement: 1951 procedure that he wrote on using the AO Lensometer ; it describes why the segment surface should be placed against the Lensometer nose when determining add Power and the theory applies to all Focimeters today for conventionally designed products..

5.) 1990 memo, more info which reviews why addition powers in bifocals are measured 'backwards' (Segment surface to aperture)

6.)  Accuracy of Focimeters (preparred as part of a package when he was chairing ISO TC 172 in 1983).

7.)  1956 AO Electronic Focusing Lensometer by Whitney/Haynes/Gunter

Prism tolerancing logic used in ISO and ANSI Standards

8.)  1957 AO Memo to Alex Torda on "Centering Standards"

9.)  1991 AO Memo titled " Some thoughts on prism and centering of Uncut SV Lenses

10.) Don Whitney 1982 AO Memo on Magnification and Low Vision Aids

10a) Don Whitney publication in Lighthouse Magazine on Low Vision Aids

11.) Hand drawn 1981 Ophthalmic Optics training slides for KAM Training - useful references for the newcomer to this field - 3mb pdf

12.) 1977 Memo on Ophthalmic Optics Lens formulae

13.) 1990 Memo on AO/Ophthalmic Lens design power formulas

Don was active in ANSI , ISO and chaired the OMA Lens Technical Committee (which I chair today - OMA is now the Vision Council). The ISO Reference Wavelength issue was also something both he and I were involved in.

Dick Whitney Ophthalmic Optics Technical materials

Optical Heritage Museum website - AO Technical Papers


AO Ophthalmic Lens Designers

AO History Main Page

Don Whitney and AO

Don Whitney Autobiography

Contact Dick Whitney via email me at

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