Invention of Contact Lenses


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.


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.

Contact Lenses Medicate Eyes

image of contact lens

A new medical invention has been created by scientists at Harvard Medical School.

The new invention is a contact lens that can dispense a regular dose of antibiotics to your eye for more than a month.

A biodegradable polymer film is mixed with a medication (antibiotic) and coated with hydrogel, which is the same material used to make contact lenses.

The film slowly releases the medication into the eye at a rate of 134 micrograms each day for 30 days.

Eye drops are used to dispense most eye medications but they are inefficient.

Only about 1 to 7 percent of eye drop medications are absorbed into the eye because most of it drips out.

Patients find eye drops cumbersome and often forget to take them, which is why scientists believe this new medical invention will dispense eye medication more easily and effectively.