Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Contacts: Older Than You Think?

Did you know contacts are older than you think? Discover the surprising history behind this everyday essential!

Contacts: Older Than You Think?

When Were Contacts Invented?

If you are someone who needs to wear contacts to see clearly, you may be wondering about the origins of this vision correction method. Contacts have come a long way since the early days, but they still remain a popular alternative to traditional glasses. Understanding the history of contacts can help you appreciate just how far we have come, and how much further we may go in the future. Here, we will explore the journey of contacts from their early conception to the advanced technology we have today.

History of Vision Correction

Vision correction has been a concern for thousands of years, with ancient civilizations using various methods to improve their sight. Some of the earliest known methods included using animal bladders filled with water to make rudimentary glasses. Over time, glassblowing techniques improved, and glasses became more precise. However, glasses were bulky and uncomfortable, and the idea of a more discreet option became appealing.

Discovering the Idea of Contacts

Leonardo da Vinci is often credited with the idea of contacts, as he was said to have sketched out a design for what he called "eye glasses" in 1508. While his sketches were never made into reality, they set the groundwork for future inventors to build upon. In 1827, Sir John Herschel created the first glass contact lens. However, these lenses were so uncomfortable that they could only be worn for a few hours at a time.

First Patent and Development

It was not until 1888 that the first patent for contacts was granted to Dr. Adolf Fick, a Swiss ophthalmologist. Fick designed a lens that would be held in place by suction on the cornea of the eye. However, these lenses were still very uncomfortable to wear. Over the next few decades, numerous inventors tried their hand at improving the design of contact lenses.

In the 1930s, a new material, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), was developed. This material was lightweight and could be molded into precise shapes, making it ideal for contact lenses. The first PMMA contact lenses were created in 1939, but they still had limited use due to their hard texture. It was not until the 1960s that a soft version of the contact lens was introduced, making contacts significantly more comfortable to wear.

In the following decades, new materials were developed, including silicone hydrogel, which allows oxygen to pass through the lens to the eye, promoting healthy eyes. Today, we have a wide variety of contact lenses available, including daily disposable lenses, colored lenses, and lenses that correct for astigmatism and presbyopia.


The history of contacts is filled with inventors who dedicated their time and energy to improving the design of the lens. From animal bladders to sophisticated silicone hydrogel lenses, we have come a long way in vision correction technology. While glasses will always remain a popular choice, contacts provide a discreet and comfortable option for those who need them. Who knows what the future holds for the technology behind contacts, but we can be sure that they will continue to evolve and improve.

Types of Contacts

Contacts are a convenient way to correct vision problems without the need for wearing glasses. They come in various types that cater to the needs and preferences of different individuals. Here are the three main types of contacts.

Hard Contacts

Hard contacts initially came into the market and were made of glass. After some revisions, they were made from plastics such as polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA, which is a rigid gas permeable material. They are rigid, small, and sturdy, which enables them to hold their shape while on the eye. Hard contacts are designed to last for several years and are useful for correcting various vision problems.

One main benefit of hard contacts is that they provide better vision accuracy due to their sturdiness. They are also less prone to tearing compared to soft contacts. Unlike soft contacts that collect proteins and lipids from eye fluids, hard lenses don't. Therefore, they require less cleaning and maintenance, which can save users the hassle of frequent replacements.

Hard contacts are easy to insert and remove because of their small size. They also do not tend to dislodge from the eyes as they fit securely. However, the adaptability phase for the eyes to get used to wearing them may take some time and require some training from an optometrist.

Soft Contacts

Soft contacts were designed to solve the comfort issues that hard contacts created. They are made from soft, flexible plastics, which are more comfortable to wear. Soft contacts come in variable sizes and are used for vision correction as well as for cosmetic purposes such as creating various eye colors.

One significant benefit soft contacts have is the high level of comfort they offer. They are more breathable and flexible. Soft contacts are suitable for people hiking or playing sports, as they are less prone to dislodging than hard contacts. Soft contacts are also easer to adapt to, allowing beginners to quickly adjust to wearing them.

Soft contacts are typically replaced after a week to a month. This depends on the manufacturer's recommendation. They are easy to clean and maintain since they aren't rigid enough to attract lipids and proteins from eye fluids. However, they will require proper care and cleaning to avoid infections, especially for people with allergies.

Disposable Contacts

Disposable contacts come in hard and soft types and are designed for single-use only. They are convenient for people who suffer from allergies and discomfort from extended wear contacts. Disposable contacts are available in daily, weekly, and monthly types, depending on how often they need replacement. These contacts are safer because they reduce the risk of contact lens-related infections due to the single-use nature.

Another benefit of disposable contacts is that they don't require a lot of cleaning because one replaces them after a specified period. This is a crucial benefit for people with allergies, as it reduces the chances of infections caused by a build-up of germs.

In conclusion, the type of contact one chooses depends on various factors such as comfort, cost, wear time, and eye condition. While hard contacts are durable and provide clearer visibility, soft contacts are more comfortable, especially during vigorous physical activities. Disposable contacts offer additional convenience and a lower risk of infections. Consulting an optometrist is essential to get the best advice on the most appropriate contact type for specific needs.

Advancements in Contact Lenses

Modern contact lenses have come a long way since the first prototypes made out of glass in the late 1800s. For many years, contact lenses were uncomfortable and difficult to wear and it was not until the invention of soft contact lenses in the 1970s that they became a popular choice for vision correction. Since then, there have been several advancements in contact lens technology that have made them more comfortable, easier to wear, and even more fashionable. Here are three notable advancements:

Toric Lenses

Toric lenses are a type of contact lens designed to correct astigmatism, a condition in which the cornea has an irregular shape that can cause distorted vision. Unlike regular contact lenses, which are perfectly round, toric lenses have a more complex shape that allows them to fit snugly on the eye and stay in place. This makes them more comfortable to wear and also improves their performance in correcting astigmatism. Toric lenses are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable materials and can be used for both nearsighted and farsighted prescriptions.

Bifocal Lenses

Bifocal contact lenses are designed to help people with presbyopia, a condition that affects most people over the age of 40 and causes a loss of near vision. These lenses have two prescriptions in one lens, one for distance vision and one for near vision. This means that wearers can see clearly at both distances without the need for reading glasses. Bifocal lenses are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable materials and can be used for both nearsighted and farsighted prescriptions. Some people may find bifocal lenses difficult to adjust to at first, but with practice, they can provide excellent vision correction.

Color Contacts

Color contact lenses are a fun and fashionable way to change the appearance of your eyes. These lenses are available in a variety of colors and can be used for both prescription and non-prescription needs. Some people wear them to enhance their natural eye color, while others choose to completely change their eye color. There are even color contacts that have special effects, like cat eyes or vampire eyes. It's important to note that color contacts are considered medical devices and should be prescribed by an eye care professional. They should also be cared for and cleaned just like regular contact lenses to prevent infection and irritation.

Whether you need corrective lenses for vision impairment or just want to change up your look, there are many options available in contact lens technology today. From toric lenses to bifocal lenses to color contacts, there is a type of lens that will fit your needs and lifestyle. Be sure to talk to your eye doctor to determine which type of lens is best for you.

Contact Lenses Today

Popularity and Availability

Nowadays, contact lenses are a very popular and readily available alternative for correcting vision problems. They have come a long way since their inception and are now used by millions of people around the world.

Contacts are particularly popular amongst individuals who lead active lifestyles, as they offer greater convenience and flexibility compared to eyeglasses. They are also preferred by people who want to avoid the appearance of glasses on their face, or those who work in professions where eyeglasses are not practical.

Today, you can easily purchase contact lenses from an optometrist, an ophthalmologist, a store specializing in optical products, or even online. They are available in a wide range of designs, materials, and wear schedules to suit individual needs and preferences.

Advanced Technology

The technology used to manufacture contact lenses has advanced significantly over the years. New materials have been developed, allowing for greater comfort, breathability, and durability. Additionally, advancements in manufacturing have made it possible to produce customized lenses, meaning that they can now be tailored to meet the needs of each individual wearer.

One of the latest advancements in contact lens technology is UV protection. Nowadays, many contact lenses offer UV protection, which helps to shield the eyes from the harmful effects of UV radiation. There are also smart contact lenses that can monitor the wearer's glucose levels and help to diagnose and manage certain eye conditions such as glaucoma.

Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance of contact lenses are critical to avoid infections and to ensure that they last for as long as possible. It is essential to follow instructions on cleaning, using, and storing the lenses as prescribed by an eye doctor.

Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses, and avoid using saliva or water to clean them. It is also important to replace them on the schedule prescribed by your eye doctor. Daily disposable contact lenses are a great option for people who want to avoid the hassle of daily cleaning and maintenance.

In conclusion, contacts are a popular, comfortable, and convenient alternative to eyeglasses for many people today. With the latest advancements in technology and the wide range of options available, it's easier than ever to find a pair that suits your individual needs and requirements.

Related Video: Contacts: Older Than You Think?

Post a Comment for "Contacts: Older Than You Think?"