Contact Lens Basics

Invention of Contact Lens? Not by one, many involved!

Contact lenses are believed to be a product of the 20th century, however, with the latest science technology and innovation, it was made possible to get the contact lenses in their present form. When it comes to the modern contact lens, it was developed in the recent past, though its birth started centuries ago.

The concept of contact lenses is said to have been first devised by Leonardo Da Vinci. He made sketches of the different variety of contact lenses way back in the 16th century with inclusion of elaborate descriptions of the same.

About a century after that, Rene Descartes is said to have formulated the concept of corneal contact lens. However, it was Thomas Young who finally used Descartes' idea some 170 years after the concept was formulated and developed which is generally considered to be the first contact lens. It was in the year 1887, that a German glass blower developed a contact lens which was designed to be worn and accepted by the eye. This particular invention made the whole world sit up and notice the contact lens and its potential advantages and disadvantages that led to the improvement and development of the contact lenses.

In the 1900's, an American optometrist produced the contact lens and introduced it in plastic form as opposed to the traditional glass contacts. And after that, the contact lens industry and technology continued to grow and expand. In the 1960s, Otto Wichterle along with Drahoslav Lim created the soft contact lens made of water absorbing plastic which serves as the base for majority of the soft contacts today. In the 1970's, these lenses became available to patients along with toric lens for patients with astigmatism.

The 1980's also saw a lot of innovations and improvements for the contact lenses. Soft colored contact lenses along with extended wear lenses were available for use. Then came the RGP lenses which were available in a variety of styles along with bifocal lenses. After their being common, came their taking care of and multipurpose lens care solution care was formulated at the same time. The 1990's continued with further improvements extended with more and more options being available to the contact lens users.

Therefore, the contact lens was a product of collaboration over centuries of innovations and hard work. And there is still some improvement or the other almost every day.