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  Contact Lenses History



1508 Leonardo da Vinci sketches and describes several forms of contact lenses.
1632 Rene Descartes of France suggests the corneal contact lens.
1801 Thomas Young develops Descartes' idea -- a quarter-inch-long, water-filled glass tube, the outer end containing a microscopic lens -- and uses it to correct his own vision.
1827 English astronomer Sir John Herschel suggests grinding a contact lens to conform exactly to the eye's surface.
1887 Glassblower F.E. Muller of Wiesbaden, Germany, produces the first eye covering designed to be seen through and tolerated.
1888 Two independent researchers, A. Eugen Fick, a Swiss physician, and Paris optician Edouard Kalt, almost simultaneously report using contact lenses to correct optical defects.
1929 Joseph Dallos, a Hungarian physician, perfects methods of taking molds from living eyes so that lenses can be made to conform more closely to individual sclera.
1936 William Feinbloom, a New York optometrist, fabricates the first American- made contact lenses and introduces the use of plastic.
1945 The American Optometric Association (AOA) formally recognizes the growing contact lens field by specifying contact lens fitting as an integral part of the practice of optometry.
1950 Dr. George Butterfield, an Oregon optometrist, designs a corneal lens, the inner surface of which follows the eye's shape instead of sitting flat.
1960 Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lim experiment with contact lenses made of a soft, water-absorbing plastic they developed.
1971 The soft lens became available for commercial distribution in the United States.
1978 The first toric contact lens was approved for distribution in the United States.
1979 The first rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens made of co-polymers PMMA and silicone became available for commercial distribution. Many silicone- acrylate lenses are now available.
1980 A tinted daily wear soft lens became available for commercial distribution.
1981 Extended wear soft lenses became available for commercial distribution.
1982 Bifocal daily wear soft contact lenses became available for commercial distribution.
1983 The first tinted RGP lens became available for commercial distribution.
1986 An extended wear RGP lens became available for commercial distribution.
1987 Disposable soft contact lenses became available for commercial distribution; a soft contact lens to change eye color became available for commercial distribution; first multipurpose lens care product made available for commercial distribution.
A new formulation of fluorosilicone acrylate material for RGP lenses became available for commercial distribution.
1991 Planned replacement contact lenses now available on the market.
Daily-wear two-week replacement lenses now available on the market.
1992 Disposable tinted contact lenses available on the market.
1995 Daily disposable lenses available on the market; RGP lenses with low silicone content / high Dk fluorosilicone acrylates became available.
1996 First disposable lenses using ultra-violet absorber are available in the U.S.
1998 First multifocal disposable soft lenses available.
1999 New generation extended wear soft lenses introduced

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