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Things you didn’t know about contact lenses

The history of contact lenses is cooler than you think

As common as contact lenses are, there are several little-known facts about the ocular devices that are somewhat shocking to learn. For instance, did you know that the first iteration of contact lenses involved someone wearing a bowl of water on their head?!

To celebrate Contact Lens Safety Month, we’ve compiled some neat information about these critical vision correction tools that anyone would find compelling. Read on to learn more fun facts, and important tips for keeping contacts clean.

The history of contact lenses

While contact lenses might seem like a fairly modern phenomenon, they actually date back several centuries. It all started in 1508, when Italian scientist and artist, Leonardo da Vinci, first surmised that dunking one’s head in a bowl of water could change their vision. His hypothesis proved right.

Da Vinci was clearly onto something, and he began experimenting. He crafted a glass lens with a funnel which he poured water into, though he quickly learned the contraption was cumbersome and impractical.

Still, scholars and inventors who came after him saw what he was aiming to do, and tried to progress his mission further. In 1636, French scientist René Descartes sifted through his predecessors observations, and decided to test a new contraption. He filled a glass tube with liquid, and placed it directly over the cornea. That’s precisely how “contact lens” got its name—because the tube literally came in contact with the eye.


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