The History and Evolution of Contact Lenses

Contact lenses have brought new-found sight and vision to millions of people since their invention. However, what many people do not know is the vast number of design changes and inventors it had to pass before getting the final product we have today.

Bowls of Water and Humble Beginnings

Since the beginning of time, there have always been people with vision defects, and there has always been a great need to find a solution to their impairment. Leonardo da Vinci, of painting and inventing fame, first took on the problem by letting a man with corneal defect place his face into a bowl of water. When the man experienced clearer vision while peering into the bowl, the concept of using artificial refraction to improve eyesight was born.

Obviously, people couldn’t simply carry around a bowl of water wherever they went if they wanted to see clearly. Soon, inventors like Renee Descartes began trying to create blueprints for lenses which could be put onto the eye and be used without encumbering the individual. Unfortunately, the technology at the time was limited, and no feasible way to create a functioning contact lens existed at the time. The concept of contact lenses was temporarily placed onto the shelf and spectacles remained the only way to improve vision.

Getting a Real Eyeful: The First Contact Lens

In the 1800’s, technology began to advance to a point where functioning contact lenses could be created. Improvements in glass molding technology, anesthesia, and medicine allowed for contact lenses to leave the blueprints and enter reality. Adolf Fick, August Mueller and Eugene Cult are all attributed to having developed the first glass contact lenses. In a sense, they worked under the same principle da Vinci had used with the bowl of water – altered refraction of light through glass and onto the eye. These were used for several years and became widely used during WWI and onwards.

In spite of this technological marvel, glass contact lenses were incredibly uncomfortable and difficult to use. Placing them in and taking them out were a struggle, and a slip of the fingers or a knock to the back of the head would cause the extremely expensive pieces to break. Many people considered them a luxury and too impractical for common use. They also could not be used by people with physical defects to the eye and more complex vision impairment.

Graceful Under Pressure: Plastic Contact Lenses

As time went on, new technology and the widespread availability of plastics made contact lens makers reconsider their material and design. Soon enough, plastic lenses began replacing glass lenses across the world. The reason was simple – plastic was lighter, more durable, more resistant to damage, more comfortable and much easier to mold than glass. Another reason why they became popular was their aesthetic appearance. For the first time in history, people started putting down their spectacles and putting on contact lenses because they looked better and more attractive.

As time went on, the contact lens continued to evolve. Newer plastic contact lenses became smaller and more attractive than any of their predecessors. Better fitting and molding technology allowed for thinner lenses and a wider user base. By the 1950’s, contact lenses had become so easy to use and so inexpensive to purchase that they became just as widespread in usage as traditional glasses.

Contact Lenses Today

From their creation to present day contact lenses, there have been remarkable changes. Modern contact lenses can be worn throughout the entire duration of the day and hold proper form and shape for extended periods of time. Contact lenses are now used to treat a wide variety of vision defects and are designed to meet the specific and unique needs of their owners. Only time will tell what technology has in store for contact lenses, in the future.

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Toe Pain says:

    The main problem lies in where the fungus is living:
    under the nail. If the injury is not severe, the recovery should be fast.
    A podiatrist may recommend you wear Plantar Fasciitis shoes in Dallas TX
    to relieve foot pain.

  2. hammertoe says:

    The main problem lies in where the fungus is living:
    under the nail. Plantar fasciitis can be treated with rest, orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections and sometimes surgery.
    Only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems, the American Podiatric
    Medical Association believes.

  3. Diets high in fat and protein are usually effective for people in losing weight.

    The mother will nurse them for 3-4 months until they are able to swim on their
    own. Ill-fitting shoes may also cause pain because they tend to
    squeeze the foot, causing the pressure inside the increase.

  4. The main problem lies in where the fungus is living: under
    the nail. The magnetic fields in the earth organize the human body
    to completely a wonderful extent. My mother and my grandmother are very calm people who seem to handle stress very well.

  5. Toe Pain says:

    Your feet swell during running, as much as a full shoe size.
    Whether it’s in your neck, back, feet, or
    any part of the body, our bodies should not hurt, and we
    should not have to compensate for pain. A podiatrist may
    recommend you wear Plantar Fasciitis shoes in Dallas TX to relieve
    foot pain.

  6. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot
    about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some
    pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog.
    An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *