The basic principles behind contact lenses originated with Leonardo da Vinci back in 1508. Although da Vinci’s ideas were more focused on the mechanisms and accommodation of the eye rather than on correcting vision, he is generally credited with establishing the general principles eventually used to create contacts. While it took more than three hundred years before the first contact lens was actually successfully manufactured and worn, these optical devices certainly aren’t a new invention. That said, however, today’s contact lenses are far more advanced and sophisticated than those that existed even in the mid-twentieth century. In fact, in the past twenty years, there have been many significant changes and advancements that have taken place with respect to the design and fabrication of contacts.
Contact lenses are thin lenses, now made of plastic, which float above the cornea on the tear layer of the eye. Corrective contacts are specially shaped to improve vision by compensating for sight-related problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. While even in the not-too-distant past contacts were often difficult and uncomfortable to wear, one of the major advancements in the optical field has been a significant increase in the comfort of these optical devices. For the most part, the greater comfort offered by modern contacts has resulted from the use of new, sophisticated materials and technologies in the manufacture of these lenses. Today’s contacts are softer and have the ability to retain moisture for longer periods of time so the incidence of dry and tired eyes after several hours of wearing contacts has gone down remarkably.
Evolution with respect to the technologies and materials used in the optical industry has also given rise to a considerable increase in the options available for users of contact lenses. These days consumers not only have a wide selection of brands to choose from, they also have many different categories of lens types available to them. For example, people can choose from rigid contacts and a wide variety of different soft contact lenses. In addition, several new types of lenses have been developed in recent years to deal specifically with certain eye conditions. As a result, there are now several varieties of contacts available to correct astigmatism, keratoconus and other conditions. People who require vision correction now also have access to multifocal contacts and numerous types of disposable lenses. Extended wear contact lenses are one of the most recent advancements in the industry, offering lenses that can be worn overnight and for up to thirty days at a time.
Along with the increased in available options with respect to contacts, convenience has also improved over the last twenty years. As mentioned previously, people can now purchase a number of different types of disposable contact lenses. This means it is easier to match contact lenses to an individual’s lifestyle and preferences. Monthly, weekly and daily disposable soft lenses are now in common use, and convenience is particularly high with daily disposable contacts as they are meant to be thrown out after every use. Thus, there are no cleaning hassles involved, which tends to be particularly appealing to those who wear contacts only on a part-time basis or only for participating in sports or other specific activities. No matter what one’s particular eye care and vision correction needs may be, there’s no doubt that the available options are far more extensive now than they were in past decades.
Today’s more sophisticated contact lenses have also led to improved health in recent years. Contacts are now extremely thin and are made from materials which promote the delivery of oxygen to the eyes, greatly reducing the dryness, redness and irritation experienced by wearers of contact lenses in the past. Furthermore, daily disposable lenses have also improved eye health as wearing a fresh pair of contacts each time reduces the chance of infection caused by improperly cleaned lenses. Some varieties of contacts also come with UV blocking capabilities which provide eyes with much-needed, year-round protection from harmful rays. While these contacts are not meant to provide a substitute for UV protection sunglasses, they do contribute to good eye care and health.
Finally, the last two decades have given rise to developments in the optical industry that have resulted in better vision for people who wear corrective contact lenses. In the past, some people who used contacts found that they did not provide vision that was as sharp as that provided by eyeglasses. However, the opposite is now often true. More sophisticated lens designs allow contacts to provide incredibly clear and stable vision for people with astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia and other problems. With so many benefits offered by recent advancements in the design and manufacturing of contact lenses, it’s clear that there are now more choices available than ever. In turn, this has allowed far more people to take advantage of corrective contact lenses.