In our opinion, contact lenses are among the greatest inventions of our time. Millions of people all around the world wear contact lenses. You may not notice it on a person wearing contact lenses; the eyes will look natural, but the contact lenses are there.
History of contact lenses
Although contact lenses are associated with a modern eye care, there is actually a bit of history to how they were first realized. Some of the familiar names behind the discovery of contacts are: Leonardo Da Vinci and Rene Descartes.
Leonardo Da Vinci conceived of the idea of contact lenses way back in 1508. Da Vinci concluded that submerging the head underwater could alter one’s vision. To pursue this idea, he created a glass lens that could be filled with water, but the invention was highly impractical and inaccurate at the time.
In 1636, Descartes built on Da Vinci’s ideas further by sketching out a lens that sat directly in the cornea. Descartes’ version was a glass tube filled with liquid that made direct contact with a person’s eyeball. While this device improved vision to a degree, it too was impractical and uncomfortable.
It would be another 200 years before the concept of modern contact lenses as we know them would come to fruition. The first person who wore a contact lens was Thomas Young. In 1801, Young used wax to secure a much shorter version of Descartes’ device to his own eye. The crude lens did not do much for the improvement of vision.
A few decades later, a British physicist named Sir John Herschel conceived the modern notion of the contact lens. Herschel realized that by taking a mold of the cornea and producing a compact, wearable piece of glass from that mold, a lens could be fitted comfortably that would improve the wearer’s vision.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Types of contact lenses
Soft Contact Lenses
These are made of a soft structure and elastic plastics that let oxygen to pass through to the cornea. Soft contact lenses are easier to adjust to and more comfortable than other lenses. Soft contacts are the choice of many contact lens wearers.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses
These last longer than soft contact lenses. They are also smaller than soft lenses and typically rest in the primary area of the cornea.
Vision in RGPs is usually crisper and clearer. The lenses themselves are more durable and more resistant to deposits than soft lenses.
Daily Wear Contact Lenses
These are the least expensive per lens. Dailies are removed and disposed of each night. They cannot and should not be used as extended wear contact lenses.
Extended Wear Contact Lenses
These are typically soft contact lens that can be worn overnight. Their duration varys from 1-6 nights, all the way up to 30 days. They are also made of flexible plastics which allow oxygen in for the cornea. However, they must be removed at least weekly for disinfection and cleaning. Extended wear contacts are not often recommended because of the possibility of infection and corneal damage.
Disposable (Replacement Schedule) Contact Lenses
This means: use once and dispose of. These lenses are for every day use so long as it’s a brand new pair each day. They are comfortable but more expensive. These lenses are not recommended for people with allergies.
Colored Contact Lenses
These contact lenses change the color and appearance of your eyes. Many are also made for vanity and costume purposes, without any particular prescription.
Toric Soft Contact Lenses
Toric soft contact lenses are able to correct astigmatism. While they are not as good as Rigid Gas Permeable lenses, they are available in soft materials.
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