Hayden Optometric Inc.
94 N Main St Mansfield MA 02048 +1 508-339-3952
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(508) 406-9342

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Mansfield, MA


A Brief History Of Contact Lenses

With all the crazy technology we see today, you probably haven’t thought much about the small wonder that helps you see all that cool tech: your contact lenses!

The concept of the contact lens was conceived over 500 years ago! But it didn’t really become what it is today until the 20th century. Let’s learn a little bit more about the history of these amazing devices.

Contact Lenses Have Come A Long Way

Before technological advances made contact lenses possible, thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci and René Descartes experimented with water’s refractive power. In 1508, da Vinci speculated that vision could be altered when the eye was in direct contact with water. In 1636 Descartes tried placing a glass tube filled with liquid in direct contact with the cornea. There was just one problem… this made blinking impossible!

Technological Advances Put Contacts On The Map

In 1827, Sir John Herschel introduced the idea that taking a mold of the cornea would help produce lenses that could correct vision. Unfortunately, technology hadn’t quite caught up to Herschel’s vision! It wouldn’t be until the early 20th century that his theory could be tested.

Progress was made in the 1880s when glass production technologies made thin lenses possible for the first time. In 1888, Dr. Adolf Fick constructed and fitted the first successful contact lens. These lenses were thick and heavy, however, and they covered the entire eye. Because the lens was made entirely of glass, these scleral lenses didn’t allow enough oxygen to reach the eye, essentially suffocating them. After a few hours, wearing these contacts became painful.

In the 1920s and 30s, advances in materials allowed Herschel’s theory to become a reality; contact lenses were conformed to the shape of the eye for the first time and new plastics made lightweight lenses possible.

Even though contact lenses had advanced significantly by the early 20th century, all contact lenses were still scleral lenses, meaning they covered the whole eye. Finally in 1948, an optical technician named Kevin Touhy introduced the corneal lens, the smaller contact lens we see most often today.

Contact Lenses Keep Getting Better And Better

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Contact lens technology has progressed immensely since its inception and continues to do so. We strive for excellence and innovation so that your contact lenses can benefit YOU. So, keep an eye out! There are exciting things in the future of contact lenses.

Our patients make our job worthwhile!

Top image by Flickr user Lee Haywood used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Visit Us in Mansfield, MA

Discover everything our practice has to offer in person at our Main Street location.


94 N Main St
Mansfield, MA 02048

Contact Information

Phone: 508-339-3952
Fax: +1 (508) 339-6907
  • Monday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00am - 6:30pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am - 4:00pm
  • Thursday: 9:00am - 6:30pm
  • Friday: 9:00am - 3:00pm
  • Saturday: 8:30am - 11:30am
  • Sunday: Closed
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Why Choose Hayden Optometric?

Our Brands

Our Brands

Your eyes are unique, and so is your sense of style, which is why selecting your frames and lenses is a very personal choice. Your frames should fit your sense of style, and your lenses should suit your vision needs. Hayden Optometric Inc. is proud to offer a wide variety of brands so that we can help you find the frames and lenses that best suit your needs and style.

We're Revolutionizing Eye Care

We're Revolutionizing Eye Care

Hayden Optometric wants to be a thought leader in the eye health industry. We are always dedicated to making life better for our patients. In fact, our own Dr. Joel Hayden has leveraged his knowledge as an optometrist and nutritionist to develop his own line of eye wipes and fish oil to bolster your eye health.



Dr. Hayden is also the founder of HALT Myopia; the Hayden Advanced Lens Therapy System. Designed for nearsighted kids, HALT Myopia has been called “LASIK for kids,” only without lasers, scalpels, pain, recovery, or risk of overcorrection.

Read more about HALT and other methods of myopia control.

The Future of Eye Health Technology

The Future of Eye Health Technology

We really value innovation. That’s why we rely on some of the most advanced technology available to help us examine, diagnose, and treat all of our patients. When you choose Hayden Optometric, you know you’re getting some of the most state-of-the-art equipment the industry has to offer.

Hayden Optometric is powered by WellFed Nutrition.

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