How Contact Lenses Began

Posted by Turtle Contacts on

When you think of contact lenses, you most likely do not think about wearing a dish of water on your head. Strangely enough, that is how contact lens began. In 1508, Italian inventor, architect, and mathematician Leonardo da Vinci assumed that by immersing your head in a dish of water you can alter your vision. Although contact lenses weren't 'invented' until almost 400 years later on, several believe da Vinci's rather eccentric idea was what motivated their advancement.

From da Vinci to Descartes
Since da Vinci's ideas for contact lens were deemed unwise they were quickly thrown out, up until over a century later on. In 1636, after examining da Vinci's work, French scientist René Descartes recommended another idea. Rather than submerging your head right into a bowl of water, why not place a glass tube filled with liquid in direct call with the cornea? (This is where the term "contact lenses" was born, since the lenses can be found in direct call with the wearer's eye.) Although Descartes' innovation worked to boost vision, making use of the tool made blinking difficult. Sadly, improvements in the style of contact lenses wouldn't be seen up until nearly two centuries later on.

Sir John Herschel

In 1823, British astronomer John Herschel conceptualized practical lens design; instead of a one-size-fits all solution, Herschel suggested that an actual mold of the cornea be used to manufacture contact lenses. This way, lenses would be unique to an individual’s eyes. While his suggestions were theoretically sound they were still problematic. The practical applications were too difficult to overcome and he was unable to test his hypothesis without the necessary technology. His idea lay dormant for about sixty years, when the first contact lenses manufactured from glass were produced.

Adolf Fick, Eugene Cult, August Mueller

In the early 1880s, glass contact lenses that fit the anterior of the eye were invented by Adolf Fick, Eugene Cult, and August Mueller, independently. These lenses, referred to as scleral lenses, covered the whole eye and were defined by Dr. Fick as having refractive power, securing the eye, as well as improving vision. Although Dr. Fick built as well as fitted the first successful call lens, there were two significant problems with his lenses: they were made from hefty blown glass as well as were 18-21 mm in size. The weight was awkward and, since they covered the entire eye, users experienced excruciating pain after only a few hrs of wear. However, they remained the requirement for the next sixty years.

Theodore Obrig and Kevin Touhy
In the 1930s, the availability of plastic produced lenses that were lightweight and also transparent. They were chemically consistent, solid, scrape resistant, and also simple to produce. In 1937, Theodore Obrig established a production method for making plastic lenses that fit the patient's cornea. Increasing on this concept, the very first corneal contact lens was presented in 1947 by Kevin Touhy. These lenses were easier to wear, more attractive, and also not conveniently dislodged or lost. These were the standard until the intro of soft contact lenses in 1971.

Bausch & Lomb
The commercial intro of soft get in touch with lenses in 1971 is attributed to Bausch & Lomb, a popular producer of get in touch with lenses to this day. Being thinner and extra comfy than hard get in touches with, the intro of soft call lenses triggered a change. Today, about 90 percent of call lenses sold in the United States are soft call lenses. The development of contact lenses remains to evolve. Considering that the 1970s, call lens users have seen the introduction of extensive wear and also over night contact lenses, disposable lenses, soft contacts meant to change eye color, as well as silicone hydrogel call lenses, among others.


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