Invention of Contact Lenses



Contacts

The invention of contact lenses has been around for centuries but they were made of heavy glass and were very uncomfortable.

They could only be worn for a short period of time before being removed.

The first true contact lens was developed in 1888 by a physiologist in Zurich named A. E. Fick.

However, it was not until 1961 that a major innovation was made to this invention that made it more popular.


Hydrogel

Professor Otto Wichterle was employed by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry. He invented the hydogel contact lens and the process for manufacturing them.

Mass production of Wichterle's invention took place mostly abroad, mainly in the United States, because the patent rights were licensed to an American company.


Soft Contacts

invention-of-contact-lenses In the 1970’s, materials were invented that allowed oxygen to flow through contact lenses. This made them more comfortable.

In 1971, chemists discovered a water absorbing polymer that was used to make a thin and pliable contact lens.

Known today as “soft contacts”, the invention of contact lenses has evolved to where they could be worn overnight or up to 30 days.

Contact lenses serve the same purpose as conventional glasses - to correct our vision except they're lightweight, invisible and disposable. Most lenses are also tinted to make them more visible for cleaning.


Technology

Contact lenses continue to improve as technology advances. Even now, a wavelength laser technology is being developed to map the surface of the cornea so that contact lenses can be customized for your eyes.

Fortunately for inventors, new technology creates opportunities to patent improvements to inventions, including the invention of contact lenses.



RETURN TO INVENTORS


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