The History of Contact Lenses

The contact lens is a simple device where a lens is placed directly on the eye ball, and helps people see properly without requiring eye glasses. Today, an estimated 30 million Americans wear contacts. 

But how did contact lenses come about? Who invented them? And how did they evolve? 

Contact lenses were developed in 1888 by a German ophthalmologist named Adolph Frick. The first contact lens was made out of glass and were rather thick. They covered the iris and the whites of the eyes. And these early lenses could only be worn for about 4 hours at a time. 

50 years later, an optical technician discovered that contacts could be reduced in size, as they could still function properly if they covered only the iris of the eye. 

Over time, it was learned that the glass lens restricted oxygen absorption to the eye and ultimately restricted the amount of time contacts could be worn. In 1972, the modern day contact lens was developed by Otto Wichterle. And contact lenses have evolved to the point where extended life lenses can be worn for up to 30 days straight — day and night!

Of the estimated 75 percent of Americans who use corrective lenses, only 11 percent of them wear contact lenses. Today’s contacts can be worn to help correct numerous vision problems.

If you have additional questions about contact lenses, or wish to see if you would be well-suited to switch to contacts,