Contact Lens History, Where Did They Come From?

Published: 15th November 2006
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While there are several people who thought of contact lenses, before they were ever made, there were also several people that improved and adjusted the lenses to the way that they are today. The contact lens history starts in the year 1508.

1. 1508
In the year 1508, Leonardo da Vinci first thought of lenses to help someone with bad vision to see better, without the use of eyeglasses. Although he was merely trying to figure out some kind of lens to improve one's eyesight, that lens turns out to be a contact lens.

2. 1636
By the year 1636, a man named Rene Descartes, took Leonardo da Vinci's idea and thought of the actual contact lens.

3. 1801
In the year 1801, Thomas Young actually took the idea of the contact lens, and made one to correct his own vision. While his lens that corrected his own vision must have been terribly uncomfortable at 1/4 inch in length, and heavy to say the least as it was a glass tube that was filled with water.

4. 1827
By the year 1827, Sir John Herschel, started to work filing down the lens so that it would fit comfortably on top of the eye.

5. 1887
Adolf Eugen Fick Announced that he was able to correct vision by using contact lenses in the year 1887. He then proceeded to make the contact lenses so that they would fit people.

6. 1889
In the year of 1889, Augusta Muller made improvements to the contact lens, so that they could be used by someone who was nearsighted.

7. 1948
The American Optometry Association finally recognized that contact lenses were being requested more and more by people needing some type of vision correction. The year 1948 is when the American Optometry Association allowed the contact lens fitting to be a normal part of an optometry visit.

8. 1950
An optometrist in Oregon, Dr. Butterfield designed a contact lens that would fit on top of the eyes cornea, and would form to the shape of the eye, rather than lay flat, in 1950.

9. 1960
By the year 1960, the first plastic contact lenses were made by Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lim.

10. 1971
In the year 1971, the soft contact lenses were made available for purchase in the United States of America.

11. 1981
By the year 1981, the soft contact lens was available for purchase with a tint of color. However, this tint of color that was on the contact lens at this time did not change the color of the eyes, but made it easier to find your contact lenses in the even that they were dropped.

12. 1982
In the year 1982, contact lenses were made for extended wear. This meant that contact lenses could now be worn for a couple of days at a time before removing them.

13. 1987
In 1987, quite a bit of contact lenses history was made. In this year, the first disposable contact lenses were available for purchase, as well as the first colored contact that would change the color of your eye.

14. 1992
By the year 1992, disposable tinted contact lenses were available to be purchased from optometrist offices everywhere.

15. 1996
1996 marked the year that the first contact lenses were available that would absorb the harmful UV rays of the sun.

While contact lens history is still being made today, they really have come along ways. Knowing that you do not have to go through the pain of the first contact lenses that were produced back in 1801, is great. Today contact lenses can be placed onto your eye, and they are hardly noticeable.

About The Author:
Penni has done extensive research on vision care including the development of the latest contact lenses as well as vision correction procedures. Visit to learn more about different topics such as discounted contact lens.

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