The original idea for contact lenses dates all the way back to sketches created by the brilliant Leonardo da Vinci. Half a millennium ago, the genius inventor mapped out plans for altering the refractive power of the eye. Later on, others experimented with modifying refractive powers by looking through both glass and water. And, finally, 120 years ago, German inventors became the first to make a genuine contact lens that fitted on the eye. Those primitive contact lenses, called scleral lenses, were constructed of glass, and they draped over the sclera, or white part, of the eye, as well as covering the cornea.
Though we’ve come a long way from these more primitive models, these early models laid the groundwork for modern day contact lenses.