Ever since Jesus Christ and his saliva, many ideas have been considered throughout the ages to improve a person’s sight. Though Leonardo da Vinci and René Descartes had already thought of it, it is to the German physiologist Adolf Eugène Fick that we owe our gratitude for the first portable prototype of contact lenses.
We find an idea close to that of the modern-day invention in the writings of the greatest inventor of all time.
Once again, we find an idea close to that of the modern-day invention in the writings of the greatest inventor of all time. But even though in 1508, in his Codex of the Eye, Leonardo da Vinci refers to an ocular lens, he desired above all to study the mechanisms of eyesight. There was no question that the Florentine would take himself for God and attempt to restore sight.
A century and a half later, René Descartes, the physicist and father of modern philosophy, “I think, therefore I am”, had his eye on the prize with his concept of a glass tube filled with liquid and placed directly in contact with the cornea. Fortunately for us, his idea was not feasible, as it would have been impossible to close the eye (for the whole day).
Then in 1887, the German ophthalmologist Adolf Eugène Fick was the first to make a wearable prototype. Initially tested on rabbits, these blown glass lenses, large and heavy, were very uncomfortable and could only be worn for a few hours.
Thanks to the invention of polymethyl methacrylate, better known as Plexiglas, the optometrist William Feinbloom proposed the first plastic lens in 1936.
It was not until the 1930s that myopic, astigmatic, and presbyopic individuals could enjoy a little more comfort. Thanks to the invention of polymethyl methacrylate, better known as Plexiglas, the optometrist William Feinbloom proposed the first plastic lens in 1936. However, the lack of oxygen transmission through the lens to the cornea posed certain clinical problems. Between 1970 and 1990, the rigid lenses were gradually improved to make them more flexible and fully permeable to oxygen. Finally, we see more clearly, without embarrassment, and in the blink of an eye.