Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Cool Inventions From the 1980s


7
Disposable Contact Lenses
Disposable contacts are thinner and more comfortable for most patients than other lenses.
Disposable contacts are thinner and more comfortable for most patients than other lenses.
Dick Luria/Thinkstock

Contact lenses have been around for decades, and they've changed quite a bit since the early days of hard plastic lenses. The 1970s saw the rise of soft lenses made from hydrogel. It's no secret why soft lenses quickly became popular: They were more air permeable than the older lenses and more comfortable to boot. Since then, both hard and soft contact lenses have seen improved permeability, and can be worn for longer periods of time.

In 1987, contact lenses became an even more convenient substitute for wearing glasses. That's the year disposable contact lenses hit the consumer market. Disposable lenses are soft contact lenses meant to be worn for a short period of time. Before disposable lenses, owning contacts was a bit like owning glasses. You wore the same pair every day and had to clean and care for them regularly. That meant losing a lens was a costly mistake.

With disposable lenses, that problem vanished. Since 1987, these contacts have become the go-to solution for in-eye vision correction. They're available in daily, weekly, and monthly forms.


More to Explore