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  • Aashi Dahiya
  • Jul 28, 22

Contact lenses: No more just a medical device

Contact lens has revolutionized eyewear craft and continues to expand on its innovation. Here’s what has been happening in the contact lens industry. 

Do you ever sit down and wonder about the vague & random things in our lives? Who was the first person to boil an egg and eat it? How did we discover the idea of television? Who invented skating? 

If you have poor eyesight and wear contact lenses, you would be among millions of individuals to think - how did someone think of vision correction? Where did it all start? 

Let’s answer this question & find out how contact lens usage evolved with time. 

A peek into the history of contact lenses

Since times unknown, eyeglasses have reigned over the entire eyewear empire. But that’s the thing about time - it changes! 

You would be surprised to know that contact lenses have an ancient origin too. Of late, the hype and trends of eye contact lenses have expanded globally. However, they were conceptualized in early 1508 by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci.


Leonardo Da Vinci created the first contact lenses

The world-renowned painter and Italian polymath, known for his famous artwork ‘Mona Lisa’, visualized and mothered the theory of contact lenses. Well, he experimented and hypothesized that submerging your head inside a bowl of water can alter your vision. He continued to develop even a glass lens but the invention was deemed impractical. But the concept was established.

In the coming years, several noteworthy inventors, researchers, scholars, and optometrists including the prominent Thomas Young tried their hands on the concept of contact lenses. It was only in the late 1920s that practical, wearable contact lenses were being developed and tested for use. 

Contact lenses, as we know them today, came to the forefront in the 1970s with the advancement of soft contact lenses. Since then, the tiny bowls of eye lenses or famously known as “invisible eyes” have been changing the world and how we see it. 

The Evolution of Contact Lenses

Since the inception of soft contact lenses, the industry has gone through several ups and downs. From soft, we progressed to gas permeable lenses. Then the FDA got involved. Industry leaders started seeking public opinions on the usage of lenses and improved on the pain points. 

Today, we have a range of high-worthy and usable contact lenses. More so, contact lenses can now be customized according to the needs, preferences, lifestyles, and convenience of each individual. 

In the new day and age, soft contact lenses come in a variety of:

  • Spherical and cylindrical eye powers
  • Daily, monthly & biannual disposability 
  • 10-hour wear & 24-hour wear 

The industry has further upped its game in the levels of comfort and clarity. Contact lenses have high water content and are made from best-in-class silicone hydrogel material that keeps the eyes moist for long hours.

The cherry on the top is that contact lenses also provide UV protection. Considering the lifestyle with prolonged screen time and rough, polluted environments, contact lenses come with in-built UV blocking technology.

A shift in purpose: From utility to cosmetic contact lenses

Traditionally, the idea and use of contact lenses were strictly limited to correcting vision. It was the only reason why any person with eye power switched from glasses. 

Contact lenses bagged the title of a medical device because of the:

  • extended usage of contact lenses for one purpose
  • medicinal notions involved in its making
  • and it's objective of improving eye health

In the new digital age, however, there is no limitation to anything, including the purpose of contact lenses. Thanks to technological advances and social media influence, contact lenses have taken a turn in the cosmetics world.

Colored contact lenses are cosmetic lenses that are intended to change the natural color of your eyes. They are pigmented with different color shades to change the look of your cornea and hence your face. 

Colored contact lenses also emerged way back. The origin, however, took place from a need to enhance makeup looks. 

In 1930, a makeup artist in the leading entertainment company Metro Goldwyn Meyer (MGM) approached an eye doctor to discuss the possibility of changing one’s eye colors. The intention was to achieve a blue eye color for an actor, Henry Hull, to suit the character of a movie called Miracle For Sale. 


Miracle for age movie poster. 1st movie to use color contact lenses


That was the beginning of yet another revolution - colored eye lenses. Since then, several celebrities and influencers have been donning different color lenses for their films and just for aesthetic needs as well. 

Colored contact lenses, however, became available to the public in the 1980s. Today, color eye lenses are available in power and zero power for all individuals. 

The Way Ahead

What started off as a concept in times of need turned into a cosmetic demand in a couple of decades. Contact lenses and their ability to give people supervision along with amplified looks have given them a special place in the eyewear club.

Today, contact lenses are used and worn as an essential commodity. They are used to correct eye vision and to create statement styles. The purpose of utility has largely extended to cosmetics and extended to grow even further. 

Learn more about the art of contact lenses at 

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