18 March 2014
A relative newcomer to the optometric scene, the contact lens is a mere 500 years old. First conceived by Leonardo Da Vinci, a man famous for painting the Mona Lisa, inventing the helicopter, and being history’s foremost know-it-all, the blueprints for the modern contact lens were first drawn up in 1508.
A mite too ambitious for medieval technology, Da Vinci’s designs were shelved for hundreds of years until 1887 when a German glassblower made them a reality with his dangerous-sounding glass contact lenses.
Fortunately, the 20th century brought a transformation in contact lens technology that saw plastic contact lenses and, eventually, one-day disposable lenses make their way into the lives and bathroom cabinets of millions.
Fashion, pop culture, and sport have also played their part in the evolution of the contact lenses, with Michael Jackson, Linford Christie and Helena Bonham Carter all having worn contact lenses to affect an uncanny appearance.
Whilst we all enjoy strange-eyed celebs, for most of us contact lenses serve a far more important function in helping us see clearly. Show your appreciation for the humble contact lens and learn a little more about them by taking a look at our informative contact lens timeline, below.