Trying to find out when contact lenses were invented? Read on.
The famous Leonardo da Vinci, believe it or not, drew sketches of how he believed vision could be altered by placing the surface of the eye, the cornea, on water.
Some say his ideas were then used over 350 years later to create the first glass contact lenses.
But there are conflicting reports as to who actually produced the first real contact lenses and when were contact lenses invented.
As contact lens history goes, two different glass lenses were produced in the late 1800s.
One was by the German F.A Muller using the ideas of the English astronomer John Herschel who, some 50 years earlier, had suggested creating a mold to as a base shape for the production of an eye lens to correct vision. The other came from collaboration between a Swiss doctor, Adolf Fick, and a French optician, Edouard Kalt, who created and fitted a glass lens to a patient in 1887.
Who was first? When were contact lenses actually invented? Who really knows for certain but what was certain is that these early lenses were very heavy and they covered the entire surface of the eye so were probably pretty uncomfortable to wear.
Several developments then happened over the next few years until, in 1948, a Californian optician Tuohy produced what is the closest to the modern rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens of today.
It was to be another 11 years when in 1959, the first soft hydrophillic lens was produced by two Czech chemists. The rest is history as the timeline below illustrates.
So in summary here's a quick timeline for the invention of contact lenses:
Thanks to All About Vision for some of the detail on where contact lenses were invented.