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THE HISTORY OF CONTACT LENSES

The history of contact lenses from their conceptual roots in da Vinci’s notebooks to the modern day vision correction devices we use today.

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1508 — da Vinci’s Other Work

Did you know Leonardo da Vinci sketched the first concept of contact lenses? His illustrations suggest vision could change by submerging the eye in water. Who knew his work went beyond Mona Lisa?

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1823 — Written in the Stars

British astronomer and photographer Sir John Herschel has a concept for contact lens design. He suggests making a mold of the cornea, so it could conform to the eye’s front surface. It will take more than 50 years for the next breakthrough.

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1887 — Initial Attempts

The first glass contact lenses are developed, covering the entire eye. Although revolutionary, they are awkward and uncomfortable to wear. 

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1936 — Back to the Drawing Board

With a more eye-friendly Plexiglass, new lenses come along in 1930. And by 1936, rigid plastic contact lenses follow. Neither are comfortable, and they block oxygen flow to the eyes.

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1970s — A Breath of Fresh Air

Rigid gas permeable contact lenses arrive on the scene. They’re much more durable than soft contact lenses and allow more oxygen to the eye than the original plastic contact lenses. It’s a win-win!

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1981 — Cutting-Edge Innovation

With the dawn of the ‘80s, soft, extended-wear contacts make their debut. These are thinner than daily wear lenses, so you can wear them for longer periods of time. 1981 also is a huge year for Johnson & Johnson as it acquires Frontier Contact Lenses and renames it VISTAKON®

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1982 — Bifocal Lenses Hit the Market

Baby boomers get some good news with the launch of soft bifocal contacts that improve vision at all distances. It’s a boost for those with presbyopia, a common age-related condition that affects near vision. 

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1986 — Longer-Lasting Technology

Extended-wear gas permeable contact lenses are a game changer and offer wearers more convenience, especially those with hectic schedules and long hours.

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1987 — The First of Many Firsts

ACUVUE® continues to revolutionize the contact lens industry by introducing the world’s first disposable soft contact lenses: ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses.

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1993 — ACUVUE® Accolades

ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses are now the number-one prescribed contact lenses in the world! ACUVUE® also begins global expansion with offices opening in Japan, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

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1995 — Another First in the Industry

ACUVUE® launches the world's first daily disposable contact lenses: 1-DAY ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses. No more cleaning and storing lenses, and no more need to buy cleaning solution!

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1997 — Innovations in Safety

Looking out for everyone, ACUVUE® adds UV (ultraviolet) blocking to all its disposable contact lenses. 

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1998 — The First ACUVUE® Bifocal Contact Lenses

ACUVUE® launches ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses BIFOCAL for presbyopia, a common age‐related condition that makes it harder to focus on objects up close. This creates more options as people’s eyes change over time.

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1999 — Technological Advancements

The close of the century brings Silicone hydrogel lenses. They are a more advanced version of soft lenses with up to five times more oxygen compared to regular hydrogel lenses. Today, Johnson & Johnson Vision sells products in 103 countries around the world.

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2002 — Advancements Expand

After huge success abroad, the United States gets on board by marketing silicone hydrogel contact lenses for the first time.

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2002 — FDA Approves Overnight Orthokeratology

It may sound a little strange, but Orthokeratology — or ortho-k — can gently reshape your cornea as you sleep, which results in clearer vision the next day. Wearing gas permeable lenses each night can be the non-surgical solution to vision improvement.

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2004 — The Vision Care Institute® Established

ACUVUE® loves vision care! So, it establishes The Vision Care Institute® to provide opticians and optometry students with exceptional education and instruction. Today there are 9 Vision Care Institutes around the world teaching in 30 languages.

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2005 — ACUVUE® Launches Two New Technologies 

ACUVUE® adds moisture technology to its bi-weekly reusable lenses with its HYDRACLEAR® PLUS Technology that helps to minimize dryness and maintain moisture. And for those with astigmatism, ACCELERATED STABILIZATION DESIGN™(ASD) stabilizes the lens and keeps it in place for crisp and stable vision.

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2006 — LACREON® Technology is a Game Changer

The 1‐DAY ACUVUE® product line adds a new addition to its family with 1‐DAY ACUVUE® MOIST Brand Contact Lenses with LACREON® Technology. It’s a patented technology that helps keep moisture in and irritation out.

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2007 — WCO Global Seal of Acceptance

A round of applause as ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses become the first contact lenses to receive the World Council of Optometry's (WCO) Global Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet Absorbing Contact Lenses.

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2008 — Expanding Advancements

ACUVUE® continues to stay ahead of the game by launching another world first in the UK: the silicone hydrogel daily disposable 1‐DAY ACUVUE® TruEye® Brand Contact Lenses with HYDRACLEAR® 1 Technology.

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2010 — A New Addition to Contacts

Custom-manufactured silicone hydrogel lenses arrive in the United States. 

After experiencing success in the UK, these soft contact lenses offer more oxygen to the eye compared to regular hydrogel lenses.

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2012 — 25 Years and Counting

ACUVUE® toasts its success and celebrates 25 years since its launch of disposable contact lenses.

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2014 — Redesigned for Expansion

After a decade of success in Korea, ACUVUE® redesigns its popular lenses for its friends in the west and launches 1-DAY ACUVUE® DEFINE® Brand Contact Lenses in the UK.

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2015 — New 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL

These lenses can be an alternative to readers, while still allowing you to see near, far and in between. They’re great for those with presbyopia offering the comfort and convenience you expect from ACUVUE®.

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2017

Johnson & Johnson acquires Abbott Medical Optics (AMO), a leader in ophthalmic solutions providing technologies in cataract surgery and laser refractive surgery (LASIK), and products in consumer eye health. This surgical portfolio, together with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care’s contact lens portfolio, became Johnson & Johnson Vision.

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