Historical accounts of the origins and development of contact lenses are full of fascinating anecdotes and debatable claims.
1508 :: →
Leonardo Da Vinci is often cited as being the first to illustrate the concept of contacts in 1508.
Leonardo Da Vinci sketches and describes several forms of contact lenses.
But his idea of a glass capsule filled with water and placed against the eye would not really fit all that well.
His proposed devices were not anticipated as truly wearable.
1632 :: ←
Rene Descartes of France suggests the corneal contact lens.
1801 :: →
Probably the first person to wear what could be called contact lenses was a farsighted British physician named Thomas Young.
In 1801, he removed small lenses from his microscope, covered the edges with soft wax, and put them into his eyes.
Referring to the result as "artificial nearsightedness", he was then able to calculate the precise refraction he needed.
1827 :: →
English astronomer Sir John Herschel suggests grinding a contact lens to conform exactly to the eye's surface.
1887 :: →
German glassblower F.E. Muller is thought to have produced the first "eye covering designed to be seen through and tolerated" in 1887.
1888 :: →
A year later, Swiss physician A. Eugen Fick and French optician Edouard Kalt almost simultaneously reported using contact lenses to correct optical defects.
Many feel contact lenses as practical refractive devices came into being as a result of Fick's experiments.
Using molds to make the glass lenses, he tried them on rabbits and cadavers before placing them into his own eyes.
He soon started having lenses ground to better control their optical properties, calling them "contact spectacles".
Even though they could only be worn for a short time, Fick's lenses led the way toward development of modern contact lens technology.
1929 :: →
Joseph Dallos, a Hungarian physician, perfects methods of taking molds from living eyes so that lenses can be made to conform more closely to individual sclera.
1936 :: →
The first American-made contacts, which also introduced the use of plastic, were fabricated by New York optometrist William Feinbloom in 1936. The American Optometric Association formally recognized the fitting of contacts as part of the practice of optometry in 1945. The first contacts designed to cover only the cornea did not appear until three years later.
Developments in contact lens design, materials and manufacturing accelerated in the 1960s and 1970s, and the flurry of refinements in the 1980s and 1990s produced dramatic changes in their overall popularity and patterns of use.
1950 :: Dr. George Butterfield, an Oregon optometrist, designs a corneal lens, the inner surface of which follows the eye's shape instead of sitting flat.
1960 :: Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lim experiment with contact lenses made of a soft, water-absorbing plastic they developed.
1971 :: The soft lens became available for commercial distribution in the United States.
1978 :: The first toric contact lens was approved for distribution in the United States.
1979 :: The first rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens made of co-polymers PMMA and silicone became available for commercial distribution. Many silicone-acrylate lenses are now available.
1980 :: A tinted daily wear soft lens became available for commercial distribution.
1981 :: Extended wear soft lenses became available for commercial distribution.
1982 :: Bifocal daily wear soft contact lenses became available for commercial distribution.
1983 :: The first tinted RGP lens became available for commercial distribution.
1986 :: An extended wear RGP lens became available for commercial distribution.
1987 :: Disposable soft contact lenses became available for commercial distribution; a soft contact lens to change eye color became available for commercial distribution; first multipurpose lens care product made available for commercial distribution. A new formulation of fluorosilicone acrylate material for RGP lenses became available for commercial distribution.
1991 :: Planned replacement contact lenses now available on the market. Daily-wear two-week replacement lenses now available on the market.
1992 :: Disposable tinted contact lenses available on the market.
1995 :: Daily disposable lenses available on the market; RGP lenses with low silicone content / high Dk fluorosilicone acrylates became available.
1996 :: First disposable lenses using ultra-violet absorber are available in the U.S.
1998 :: First multifocal disposable soft lenses available.
1999 :: New generation extended wear soft lenses introduced.
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Discount Contact Lenses is a full-service, direct delivery contact lens supply company. As one of the fastest growing optical suppliers in the world, we have combined the lowest prices available with dedicated, personalized customer service. Currently, we ship lenses to all 50 US states as well as Europe, South America and the Far East.
All major brands and contact lenses at 50-70% below retail.
All contact lenses dispensed by Discount Contact Lenses are the exact lenses prescribed by your doctor. They're delivered to you in safe, sealed containers direct from the manufacturer.
Peter Clarkson, MD, PhD - President & CEO
Dr. Clarkson founded Discount Contact Lenses in 1995 with a vision to provide a high-quality contact lens replacement service focusing on the then-emerging internet. Dr Clarkson has led Discount Contact Lenses through 12 straight years of profitable growth, allowing the company to develop from a small operation in the back of an optometric office to one of the largest contact lens retailers in the USA. Dr. Clarkson is also President of Eyestyles, a Columbus Ohio optical retailer which he founded.
According to an independent report by All About Vision, our prices are lower than major retailers.
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