Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with first introducing the idea for the contact lens. Yet even he would find it hard to believe how far his concept has come today. In 2011, the worldwide contact lens market was valued at $6.8billion, with indications that this is set to rise by the end of 2012.
With the range of lenses now available, popular internet sites such as LensWay are offering lens wearers a whole host of solutions for their vision needs, from sight correction to treating cornea problems. However, in recent years contact lenses have been used for a surprising range of reasons.
The trend for celebrities reaching for the lenses when they want to give their eyes a quick makeover has caused an explosion in the cosmetic contact lens market. However, they have uses outside of just making your eyes look pretty. Here is a rundown of some of the more weird and wonderful uses of contact lenses and what the future might look like though them.
Contacts lenses can be used to startling effect, especially in movies. They can make bad guys seem more sinister, make pale teenagers look like vampires and bring the undead to life. So if you’re stuck for good Halloween party costumes, delving into your scary movie collection for creepy contacts can be a good source of inspiration.
Even designers are setting their sights on the lucrative cosmetic lens market. In 2010 Christian Dior released a ‘CD’ branded contact lens and Svarovski have lent their trademark crystals to a set of lenses, giving the eyes some extra sparkle. Whether or not this is the pinnacle of high fashion remains to be seen, but judging by the way that the desire for all things designer has permeated almost every aspect of our lives, this could be the shape of things to come in the contacts market.
Now it is no secret that wearing contact lenses can help spectacle wearers play sports more easily, but a concept developed between Nike and Bausch & Lomb took this one step further. Their Nike Max Vision range was developed to aid players of different sports to reduce glare and help them focus on objects more clearly, through the use of tinted lenses. The range was discontinued despite positive reviews, but other manufacturers are still producing similar products. These can be a valuable tool in the arsenal of sports players who aren’t able to wear glasses during games.
Being able to see information on a digital display in the eye – like Arnie’s Terminator – seems like a far-fetched flight of fancy, but contact lenses being developed by the University of Washington are making this concept look more like a near future possibility than something from the outer reaches of science fiction.
The lenses are fitted with a microscopic circuit board, which will help visually impaired people locate objects more easily and navigate the streets more safely. But it is only a matter of time before this technology is developed for more commercial uses. So maybe some day soon, you won’t even need to look at a TV screen to watch a movie or put on your sunglasses to keep out the glare of the sun , as you’ll be able do it both through your contact lenses.