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History

  • Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519);  the great  Italian architect, mathematician and inventor  produced the first known sketches and is often regarded The First Inventor who had the idea of contact  lenses in 1508.
  • Three centuries later, in 1887, the first contact lenses were actually developed by the German physiologist and ophthalmologist Eugene Adolph Fick. These lenses, made from blown glass, were large, heavy and uncomfortable.
  • In the 1930 and 1940, U.S. opticians developed an idea of adding a strip of hard plastic around the glass core to make contact lenses more comfortable.
  • In 1936, New York optometrist William Feinbloom (1904-1985) introduced scleral lenses made of a combination of glass and plastic that were significantly lighter than older glass-blown contacts.
  • In 1948, California optician Kevin Tuohy (1919-1968) introduced the first contact lenses that resembled modern gas permeable (GP) contact lenses of today. These all-plastic lenses were called "corneal" contact lenses because they were smaller in diameter than previous contact lenses and covered only the clear front surface of the eye (the cornea).
  • These early hard lenses were made of a non-porous plastic material called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Though PMMA hard lenses were not gas-permeable, they were fitted so they could move with each blink, so oxygen-carrying tears could be "pumped" under the lens to keep the cornea healthy.
  • Perhaps the biggest event in the history of contact lenses was the invention of the first hydrophilic ("water-loving") Hydrogel soft contact lens material by Czech chemists Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lim in 1959. These were launched in 1971 by Bausch + Lomb's "SofLens" brand contacts.


Recent milestones in the history of contact lenses include:

  • 1979 — The introduction of rigid gas permeable contact lenses
  • 1981 — The introduction of soft  extended wear lenses.
  • 1982 — The launch of soft Multifocal / bifocal lenses.
  • 1986 — The introduction of extended wear GP contact lenses
  • 1987 — The launch of disposable contact lenses
  • 1995 — The introduction of daily disposable contact lenses
  • 1999 — The introduction of silicone Hydrogel contact lenses
  • And new Inventions continue on to this day