Archive for July, 2010

Who Invented Bifocal Contact Lenses? Mystery Solved

Before we get to the invention bifocal contact lens, we need to go back a bit further to see the evolution of contact lenses. The idea of the general principal of a contact lens was made my none other than Leonardo Di Vinci in 1508, yes the famous artists who painted Mona Lisa! Not only was he a painter he was also a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. That is a story for another article (a whole book even), so let us get back to the invention of contact lenses.

It wasn’t until the 1800’s that the contact lens made another leap forward. In 1827Sir John Herschel an English astronomer, proposed the idea of making a mould of the wearer’s eyes so contact lenses can be made to conform perfectly to the front of the eye. His idea was slightly ahead of the manufacturing techniques at the time.

Not until 1887 was the idea made into reality by German glassblower F.A. Muller, who made the first glass contact lens. In 1888 Swiss Physician Adolf Fick and Paris Optician Edouard Kalt used Muller’s invention to fit the first glass contact lenses to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness. These lenses were heavy and could only be tolerated for a few hours.

The next significant leap forward came in the 1930s when the first contact lens containing both glass and plastic was introduced by New York Optometrist William Feinbloom. This was the beginning of the modern hard contact lens era. In the late 1940s marks the beginning of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) plastic contact lenses manufactured by California optician Kevin Tuohy. The PMMA evolved, getting smaller and thinner and are still available on the market today.

It wasn’t until the 1950s saw the evolution into the soft contact lens by Czech chemist Dr. Otto Wichterle. His experiments using spinning parts from his son’s bicycle led him to produce the first soft contact lens. The first commercially produced soft contact lenses were made by Bausch & Lomb in 1971. Over 90% of the contact lenses on the market today are soft contact lenses. Due to their ease of handling and disposable convenience, these lens are perfect for those who no longer want to wear glasses.

The first commercially available bifocal contact lenses (daily wear) were introduced in 1982 and the disposable versions in 1999.

As you can see contact lenses were more of an evolution, with each inventor building and advancing from a previous idea. It took over 500 years to get where we are today but I am sure glad we have this amazing invention that many of us can benefit from.

More on Bifocal Contact Lenses

These lenses are for people who have a condition called presbyopia or the inability to focus on things in close range. If you have to hold that menu at arms length to read it, you might have presbyopia. Some physical symptoms might include blurred vision, headaches, eye strain or eye fatigue. If you are tired of wearing bifocal glasses, bifocal contact lenses might be the perfect solution for you.

Bifocal contact lenses are also known as Multifocal or Progressive contact lenses. They all pretty much serve the same purpose, allowing you to see clearly near and far and all distances in between.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope you enjoyed it.

Happy contact lens hunting.

Contact lenses have made lives simpler for millions of people world wide, today no matter what part of the globe you are from if you have ever worn a pair of glasses in your life chances are you have considered getting contact lenses. Contact lenses are worn by over 125 million people the world over. Apart from helping people get rid of glasses, contact lenses also offer many more features that conventional visual aids like glasses cannot offer.

As mentioned earlier the biggest advantage of contact lenses is that they are almost invisible, and unless a person tells you he or she is wearing contact lenses it is almost impossible to find out. A majority of the people in the world today wear contact lenses for this cosmetic purpose alone. It is not uncommon for people to completely ditch their glasses in exchange for contact lenses. Apart from making people with glasses look prettier, contact lenses also have more scientific advantages spectacles to do not have.

Compared to a pair of glasses, contact lenses allow for a much wider field of vision. Since glasses are limited in that they have very little or no visibility at the extreme ends they are disadvantageous to people like sportsmen and soldiers. In fact most infantry soldiers with glasses prefer contact lenses as they provide better field of vision, and modern day contact lenses can be worn for long durations of time without any problems. Also contact lenses are not bulky or prone to breakage like spectacles. People that are involved in manual labour or sports activities like football, baseball etc cannot dream of wearing spectacles to work. This is where contact lenses have a unique advantage.

Another advantage that contact lenses have when compared to spectacles is that contact lenses do not steam or fog like spectacles, also contact lenses are unaffected by rain and other weather conditions that directly affect glasses. A popular area where contact lenses are being used today is altering the colour of the iris, by wearing cosmetic lenses a person can alter the colour of his or her eyes within minutes. Most cosmetic contact lenses are certified by the FDA and can be used without any additional complications, however all contact lens users are advised to maintain proper hygiene while using contact lenses.

If you are currently wearing spectacles and considering switching over to contact lenses then there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Contact lenses require a little more care when compared to glasses. Also contact lenses cannot be worn for longer duration of time in the beginning. It takes time for the eye to adjust to the contact lenses, so if you are expecting to get used to your new contact lenses immediately think again. Also if you are part of a profession where glasses are actually impairing your day to day activities then it is always a good idea to get yourself a pair of contact lenses. Remember always get professional help and use only prescribed contact lenses.

As with most things, it is true also with glasses that in the end you get what you pay for. It is also true that it is quite possible to pay a premium for glasses that appear of good quality and are attractive but yet are not well constructed and in the end you will not be happy.
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