Contact Lenses - History of Contact Lenses
Many people today wear contact lenses. People who need to wear glasses because of poor eyesight don't always like to wear glasses. This could be because glasses are not always fashionable. But, most of the time, it is because glasses are not always practical. It is hard to swim with glasses. It is also hard to do other things like run or participate in contact sports. So, the contact lens is more practical for most people.
Contact lenses are small, round "lenses" that are worn directly on the eyeball. They work in the same ways as glasses-they bend the light in certain ways so that eyesight is improved. Italian inventor, artist, and scientist Leonardo da Vinci described and sketched the idea for contact lenses in 1508. However, it would be more than 300 years before his ideas would become a reality.
In 1827, Sir John Herschel came up with the idea of making a mold of a person's eyes so contact lenses could be made to conform perfectly to the eye's surface. In 1887, German glassblower F.A. Muller used Herschel's ideas to create the first known glass contact lens. This led to contacts of a glass blown nature in 1936 by an optometrist called William Feinbloom in 1904. However, these were not ideal because they covered the entire eye, blocking up all of the oxygen.
Kevin Tuohy invented plastic lenses in 1948. They were smaller, and the material was porous. This meant that oxygen could leave the eyes. Many people also enjoyed the softer types of lenses, which had a big appeal.
Today, contact lenses come in many varieties and brands. They can be used by people who have a hard time seeing things up close and seeing things far away. Most people today do wear "soft" contact lenses. These are flexible and feel more comfortable in the eye. It is important for people who wear contact lenses to clean them every day. Because they are worn in the eye, it is easy to get germs from the lens into the eye.