Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Did You Know Contact Lenses Were Invented Over 500 Years Ago?

"Discover the Surprising History of Contact Lenses - Innovating Vision for Over 500 Years!"

Did You Know Contact Lenses Were Invented Over 500 Years Ago?

Where Were Contact Lenses Invented?

Contact lenses have come a long way since the early days of Emperor Nero and Leonardo da Vinci's inventions. The first contact lenses we know today were invented in the mid-1800s. Here's a detailed look at the early innovations that led to the development of contact lenses and their invention.

Early Innovations

The history of contact lenses dates back to ancient times, where individuals came up with various ideas to correct vision. The first records of attempts to correct vision with lenses come from ancient Rome, where the emperor Nero was said to have used a crude monocle made from an emerald. While it's unclear how well this worked, it's considered to be one of the earliest forms of eyeglasses.

Fast forward a few centuries, and we see Leonardo da Vinci proposing the idea of correcting vision with a glass lens in contact with the eye. But the concept didn't catch on, and it wasn't until the mid-1800s that the first contact lenses as we know them today were invented.

The First Contact Lenses

In 1887, German ophthalmologist Adolf Gaston Eugen Fick invented the first successful contact lens. This lens was made of glass and covered only the cornea's eye surface. It could only be worn for a few hours at a time as it didn't allow oxygen to pass through to the eye. This made it uncomfortable and even risky to wear for extended periods.

In 1938, Czech ophthalmologist Otto Wichterle invented the first soft contact lens. The lens was made of hydrogel, a plastic material that allowed oxygen to pass through, making it comfortable for extended wear. Wichterle used a process called cast molding to create the lens, which involved pouring liquid hydrogel into a mold and allowing it to harden. The result was a soft, flexible lens that molded to the shape of the eye.

Since Wichterle's invention, there have been many advancements in contact lenses, including disposable lenses, toric lenses for astigmatism, and color-changing lenses. Contact lenses are now a common vision correction option for millions of people worldwide.


The invention of contact lenses was a fascinating process that started with crude monocles and evolved into the soft, comfortable lenses we know today. While early innovators paved the way for contact lens development, it was not until the mid-1800s and Otto Wichterle's hydrogel lens that they became a viable vision-correction option. Today, contact lenses are a popular and convenient way to correct vision, allowing millions of people to see the world clearly.

Where Were Contact Lenses Invented?

Contact lenses are a popular choice for people who do not want to wear glasses. They provide a more natural-looking vision and can be more comfortable than traditional eyeglasses. However, do you know where contact lenses were invented?

Europe and America

The invention of contact lenses can be traced back to Europe and America. In 1887, Swiss physician A.E. Fick designed the first practical contact lens. Made of heavy glass, the lens was large enough to cover the entire cornea. However, the lenses were cumbersome and uncomfortable, as they covered the entire eye.In 1888, German glassblower F.E. Muller created the first successful glass contact lens. Unlike Fick's lens, Muller's lens sat directly on the cornea and could only be worn for up to a few hours at a time. Muller's lenses were made of blown glass, which made them heavier and more fragile than modern contact lenses.A few years later, in the United States, William Feinbloom designed the scleral lens. The scleral lens was larger than previous lenses and covered the whites of the eyes as well as the corneas. This design was meant to help correct vision problems caused by irregular corneas.Despite being a significant improvement, the scleral lens was still uncomfortable to wear for long periods. In the early 1900s, contact lenses were mainly used as a cosmetic device to change eye color. During this time, they were made of plastic and let oxygen pass through the lens to the cornea.>H2>The Modern Era of Contact LensesThe development of contact lenses has come a long way since A.E. Fick and F.E. Muller's early attempts. The first modern contact lenses were made of a material called polymethyl methacrylate, or PMMA. PMMA was a breakthrough because it could be molded into the shape of the cornea and allowed oxygen to pass through the lens.The first commercially available PMMA contact lenses were introduced in the 1940s. They made contact lenses more accessible to people who wanted to correct their vision or improve their appearance. However, PMMA lenses were still uncomfortable to wear, and they did not allow enough oxygen to pass through the lens to the cornea.In the 1970s, new materials were developed that addressed the limitations of PMMA lenses. Soft contact lenses made of hydrogel, a type of plastic, were introduced and became the new standard. Hydrogel lenses were comfortable to wear and allowed oxygen to pass through to the cornea, making them safer than PMMA lenses.Today, contact lenses are available in a variety of materials, including silicone hydrogel, fluorosilicone, and perfluorinated materials. Modern contact lenses are thinner, more comfortable, and offer better visual acuity than ever before.


In conclusion, contact lenses have been around for more than a century, and their history can be traced back to Europe and America. Although they were initially uncomfortable and cumbersome, advancements in technology have made contact lenses more comfortable and safer to wear than ever before. Modern contact lenses are a popular alternative to traditional eyeglasses, providing an excellent option for people who want to correct their vision or improve their appearance.

Where were Contact Lenses Invented?

Contact lenses are a popular alternative to traditional eyeglasses for vision correction. They are thin lenses placed directly on the eyes and can correct a range of vision problems, such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. But where were contact lenses invented?

The Early Days of Contact Lenses

The idea of placing a lens directly on the eye to correct vision dates back to the 16th century, where Leonardo da Vinci first sketched the concept. The first contact lenses, however, were made of glass, and they were bulky, uncomfortable, and difficult to wear. The earliest prototypes were invented in the late 19th century, but they were not successfully implemented until the early 20th century. F.E. Muller, a German glassblower, designed the first contact lenses made out of blown glass in 1887. These lenses covered the entire eye, and the wearer had to blink to move them. French ophthalmologist Eugene Kalt was the first to successfully fit a patient with a contact lens in 1888. Later, in 1936, a New York optometrist, William Feinbloom created contact lenses that were more comfortable and easier to wear.

The Invention of Modern Contact Lenses

The first contact lenses made of modern materials were invented and designed by Czech chemist Otto Wichterle in 1959. Wichterle was working with hydrogels, a water-containing polymer, and developed the first wearable hydrogel contact lens prototype. In 1961, Wichterle founded a company he called Polymer Laboratories to further develop and mass-produce hydrogel contact lenses which he named HEMA. These lenses were first mass-produced in 1971. Marc A. Mitscherlich, who at the time was employed by Bausch & Lomb (B+L) in Rochester, NY, came up with an alternative design that was easier to wear. His new design was called a "contour lens," which was made by cutting down molded lenses and reducing contact area with the cornea to increase oxygen permeability and reduce fogging. This design paved the way for the first commercially successful soft contact lens, which was introduced in the 1970s by Bausch & Lomb and called SofLens. Through the years, contact lenses became more accessible and affordable, making it easy for people to purchase and use them for their daily vision correction needs.

Technological Advancements

Advancements in technology have played a crucial role in the development and improvement of contact lenses. One such advancement was the development of silicone hydrogel lenses, which were introduced in the 1990s. These lenses provided better oxygen permeability, which was significant for the comfort and health of the eye. In addition to higher oxygen permeability, these lenses also retained moisture, which improved comfort and made them a preferred choice for extended wear. These hydrogel lenses were also more stable and durable than previous generations of contact lenses, which had the tendency to dry out, become stiff and difficult to handle.

Another technological improvement was the creation of toric lenses that could correct astigmatism. Before these lenses were introduced, people with astigmatism had to rely on specially-shaped eyewear lenses to correct their vision. The development of toric lenses made it easier to correct astigmatism as they could be simply placed on the eye like regular contact lenses. As time passed, manufacturers continued to develop and introduce new versions of contact lenses with improved design and comfort.

Today, there are various types of contact lenses available on the market, including single-use lenses, daily wear lenses, extended wear lenses, and multifocal lenses. The lenses are available in different designs and sizes, ranging from soft lenses and rigid gas permeable lenses to scleral lenses that cover the entire cornea. In addition, modern contact lenses are made using advanced materials that provide greater comfort, durability, and oxygen permeability, and some can even protect the eyes from harmful UV radiation.

In conclusion, contact lenses were invented almost a century ago, and over time they have undergone numerous redesigns and improvements. From the early prototypes made of glass to the modern-day silicone hydrogel lenses, contact lenses have come a long way to become the convenient, safe, and comfortable vision correction aids we know today.

Related Video: Did You Know Contact Lenses Were Invented Over 500 Years Ago?

Post a Comment for "Did You Know Contact Lenses Were Invented Over 500 Years Ago?"