The History of Contact Lenses

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At The Bromley Eye Centre, we’re passionate about clear vision. Contact lenses are a fantastic way to achieve this, and they’ve come a long way since their early beginnings. Did you know that the concept of contact lenses dates back to the 16th century? Let’s take a journey through time to see how these tiny marvels have evolved.

The Early Days: Ideas Take Shape

Leonardo da Vinci, the renowned inventor, first sketched the concept of contact lenses in the 1500s. He envisioned correcting vision by looking through a bowl of water. While not exactly practical, it was a brilliant starting point. Later, in the 17th century, philosopher René Descartes refined the idea, suggesting that the water needed to touch only the cornea, not the entire eye.

the History Of Contact Lenses
Contact Lense History

19th Century: First Attempts at Reality

It wasn’t until the 19th century that scientists like Thomas Young and John Herschel started turning these ideas into actual lenses. Early versions were made of glass and covered the entire eye. While they corrected vision, they were uncomfortable and restricted oxygen flow.

20th Century: A Leap Forward

The 20th century brought significant advancements. Optometrist William Feinbloom combined glass and plastic for a lighter, more breathable lens. Then, Kevin Touhy introduced smaller lenses made of a non-porous plastic that allowed more oxygen to reach the eye.

The 1950s and 60s saw the introduction of hydrogel lenses, a soft, water-absorbent material that revolutionised comfort. These lenses became thinner and more comfortable over time, leading to the development of multifocal and toric lenses for different vision needs.

In the 80s, daily disposable lenses changed the game, making lens wear more convenient and hygienic. Extended-wear lenses also emerged, allowing overnight wear under professional guidance.

History Of Contact Lenses

21st Century and Beyond: The Modern Era

The late 90s brought silicone hydrogel, a material that allows even more oxygen to pass through to the eye, making lenses even healthier and more comfortable. Today, silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses are a popular choice for their convenience and eye health benefits.

Looking to the future, we’re excited about the possibilities of “smart” contact lenses with features like zoom and medication delivery. Contact lens technology continues to evolve, offering clearer vision and greater comfort.

Your Clear Vision Starts Here

At The Bromley Eye Centre, we’re committed to helping you see your best. Whether you’re new to contact lenses or a seasoned wearer, our experienced team is here to guide you. Contact us today on 020 8466 8333 to explore the latest advancements in contact lens technology and find the perfect fit for your lifestyle.

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