There are a large percentage of people in the world that use contact lenses on a daily basis. This can be to either change the overall appearance of their eyes or to improve their vision. However, out of this percentage, there are very few that know the history of how the contact lens came into existence. Here is a short explanation of the history associated with the lens.
Leonardo Da Vinci is the first individual to have ever designed the contact lens. He is responsible for creating the idea and sketching it in 1508. It wasn’t until 300 years after that date that contact lenses would be officially invented, however. The first lenses were soft lenses, which were created by a chemist known as Otto Wichterle.
Rigid lenses didn’t exist until Adolf Gaston Eugen Fick decided to use blown glass on the eye. The glass was heavy and was created to specifically rest on the areas of the eye that were the least sensitive, the tissue around the cornea. The lenses were 18-21mm in diameter and were tested on rabbits first. After this, Fick tested them on himself and then on a few volunteers.
The issue with these lenses involved the lack of oxygen that could reach the eye through the lens. This caused many adverse reactions and understandable discomfort for people who were wearing the lenses. Eventually, other types of material had to be used for hard lenses. This allowed for rigid lenses to become oxygen permeable for the eye while still correcting the vision.
After the release of soft lenses in 1971, these became more popular and more prescribed than hard lenses. This is in consideration that soft lenses are easier to get used to wearing and because they are comfortable in comparison to hard lenses. After the initial release of the lenses, the polymers associated with them have been improved multiple times which now allows the lenses to also be oxygen permeable.
Lenses can have three various functions for people that wear them. Cosmetic lenses are used to change the look of the eyes or add decoration to them in some format. Corrective lenses are used to improve the vision for the eyes. Therapeutic lenses are used for treating various disorders associated with the eyes. Which lenses are prescribed depend on the results of the eye exam for the individual.
Contacts will continually progress and change as long as there is research devoted to them. There is a current focus on the prevention of eye conditions that can be caused by wearing lenses that have been contaminated by proteins and various bacteria. This research hopes to find treatments to use for these conditions.
There is further information related to the overall history of contacts online. This is a very basic and small explanation of what is associated with that history. There have been numerous discoveries which factored into the creation of the contact lens, and far more than what can be listed here. If you would like to know more, you may be interested in further researching the information.