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What is a Contact Lens?

Quite simply, a contact lens is a lens placed directly on the eyeball.

Lenses are consdered as 'medical devices' and can be used to correct vision, for
cosmetic purposes and for therapeutic purposes.

People choose to wear contact lenses for many reasons (see our comparison with
glasses below) but mainly it's for aesthetic reasons - as people look more natural without

History of Contact Lenses

Amazingly, it is thought that Leonardo da Vinci sketched the first ideas for contact lenses
in 1508. However it was more than 300 years later before contact lenses were actually
fabricated and worn on the eye.

In the very early years contact lenses were made from glass. In 1827, English astronomer
Sir John Herschel came up with the idea of making a mould of the wearer's eyes so
contact lenses could be made to conform perfectly to the eye's surface.

In 1887 a German glassblower used Herschel's ideas to create the first known glass
contact lens.

Shortly after, Swiss physician A.E. Fick and Paris Optician Edouard Kalt are credited with
fitting the first glass contact lenses to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness.
These heavy glass lenses covered the entire front surface of the eye and could be
tolerated for only a few hours of wear.

In 1936, New York Optometrist William Feinbloom introduced the use of plastic in
contact lens manufacturing. Feinbloom's lenses had a central portion made of glass
that covered the cornea and a peripheral band of plastic that covered the sclera.

In 1948, California optician Kevin Tuohy began manufacturing contact lenses made
completely of plastic. His lenses were smaller in diameter than Feinbloom's lenses, but
they still covered the entire cornea.

Later the same year, Oregon optometrist George Butterfield improved Tuohy's lens
design, adding flatter peripheral curves to the lens so it more closely matched the shape
of the cornea and would not pop off so easily.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, hard plastic lenses were made smaller and thinner,
evolving into hard lens designs that are still used today.

However these lenses remained quite difficult for many people to wear comfortably.

So in the late 1950s a Czechoslovakian chemist began to experiment with methods to
produce contact lenses using a soft, water-absorbing plastic called hydroxyethyl
methacrylate (HEMA)

In 1961 Dr. Wichterle created the prototype of a spin-casting machine and used it to
produce the world's first soft contact lenses.

Dr. Wichterle's work later resulted in the introduction of the first commercially available
soft contact lenses by Bausch & Lomb in 1971. This enabled the market to grow
considerably as these lenses were thinner and more comfortable than hard contact

Recent years have seen the introduction of frequent replacement lenses, tinted
disposable soft contact lenses, one-day disposables, disposable lenses using
ultra-violet absorber, bifocal soft contact lenses, toric lenses, extended wear lenses
and silicone hydrogel lenses. No doubt the development will continue in the
coming years ..

Benefits of Contact Lenses

The past few years have seen tremendous developments in lens materials and design to
bring even greater benefits and comfort to contact lens wearers.

Today almost all eyesight problems can be corrected with contact lenses. Despite
advances in spectacle technology and the advent of surgical techniques such as
laser refractive surgery, contact lenses provide many advantages and are a very
successful form of vision correction.

New manufacturing technology has also made contact lenses more affordable than
ever before and brought extra comfort and healthy options.

Now more than 3.5 million people in the UK wear contact lenses and the number of
wearers has more than doubled in recent years

Some benefits of contact lenses are:

- They are simple and convenient to use and expand lifestyle choices

- They offer natural all-round vision and enhance your appearance

- They have many advantages for sport and leisure activities

- They can be worn every day, part-time or just for going out and special occasions

- Vision with contact lenses can be as good, or better than with spectacles

- They offer a safe, effective, stable, and reversible alternative to refractive surgery

- They can correct almost all eyesight problems and are suitable for people of all ages

- Adaptation to contact lenses is rapid and trouble-free

- The latest contact lenses and solutions provide excellent comfort and eye health

- Some eye conditions can only be corrected with contact lenses

Contact Lenses Versus Glasses

Glasses Contact Lenses
The distance between your eye and the lens sometimes creates distortion.   Worn right on the eye, for more natural vision.
Poor peripheral (side) vision.   Your entire field of view is in focus. This is especially important in sports and in driving, where you need to see as much around you as possible.
Constant awareness of frame and lens edge, as well as reflections off the backside of the lens.   With contacts, no annoying obstructions or reflections are in view.
Uncomfortable weight on your face and ears. Periodic need for tightening or other adjustment.  No weight and resulting discomfort. No frame constantly slipping down your nose.
Glasses can fog up with changes in temperature. Contacts don't fog up.
Glasses can be a distraction during games and sports.  No distractions, which makes contact lenses a favorite among athletes.
Fashionable and inexpensive non-prescription sunglasses are not an option if you wear eyeglasses.  A whole wardrobe of fashionable, functional, affordable sunglasses is available to contact lens wearers.
Glasses need to complement your outfit. For instance, casual frames may not suit evening attire. Or colors may clash.  Contacts match everything you wear.
Eyeglasses can be annoying to wear in rain or snow.  Contact lenses won't collect precipitation and blur your vision.
Glasses are an unnatural, distracting barrier between your eyes and the world.  Contacts don't detract from your natural appearance; they let people see your eyes.

Having said all that, many people who wear contact lenses also like to wear glasses.
So we also sell cheap prescription glasses on our sister site

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Best Sellers

Acuvue TruEye


Acuvue TruEye contact lenses are the world's first silicone hydrogel daily disposables. Silicone hydrogel lenses have vastly superior oxygen transmissibility, allowing the cornea to breathe naturally through the material of the lens. Patients changing to 1-DAY ACUVUE® TRUEYE will regain incredible white eyes and comfort at the end of the day because the super wet and super smooth surface has the lowest friction coefficient of any daily disposable lens on the market today - even exceeding 1-Day Moist - this is fantastic news for lens wearers tolerating gritty pink eyes after a long day. And now you can buy these lenses cheaper online from The Contact Lens Shop.

ACUVUE TRUEYE 1 DAY allow your eyes to breathe normally with the convenience and hygiene of daily disposability and are the only daily disposables on the market with a built-in class 1 (the highest) UV filter to routinely protect the inside of the eye from damaging UV light.

A world first: the first-ever fusion of superior oxygen delivery, highest UV protection and ultra-smooth HYDRACLEAR® technology in a daily disposable lens. No other lens is better equipped to help you and your eyes meet the daily challenges of modern living. Experience a whole new dimension in vision care.

Why try them?
The only lens of its type to give you all these benefits:
- Healthy, clear and bright eyes
- The highest UV protection of any daily disposable lens
- An ultra-smooth lens for comfortable eyes
- The convenience and health of a fresh, new lens every day

The technology inside

- Made from a unique silicone hydrogel material called narafilcon A which allows almost 100% of oxygen available to pass through to your eyes, helping them stay clear and white
- UV blocking of 100% UV-B and more than 96% UV-A
- The unique, wettable, ultra-smooth properties of HYDRACLEAR® technology to help keep your eyes moist and comfortable

How to wear 1 DAY ACUVUE® TruEye
- Remove lenses and discard daily. Start with a fresh, clean lens every day.

FREE UK delivery
30 pairs (1 month's supply) £39.90
60 pairs (2 month's supply) £79.90
90 pairs (3 month's supply) £109.90
180 pairs (6 month's supply) £214.90
360 pairs (12 month's supply) £419.90

We also sell discount
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Freshlook Colors

Freshook Colors - coloured contact lenses. Freshlook Colors just £14.90. Party time is here! FreshLook Coloured disposable contact lenses for dramatic eye colour change. The iris pattern of FreshLook Colors overlays the natural base to create a dramatic change. Create a different look every day with these coloured contact lenses. These coloured contact lenses are 55 per cent water content monthly disposables. All coloured contact lenses are approximate and the effect will differ from person to person !

Please Note ....
1.) If you have not worn lenses before we strongly recommend that you have them professionally checked in your eyes on receipt. By ordering these lenses you confirm you are aged 18 or over.

2.) * These lenses come in packs of 2. So if you are ordering just 1 pair they MUST be the same power. If you require different powers in each eye, please order an even number of pairs (e.g. 2 pairs, 4 pairs etc). Thank you.

Fitting 8.6 / 14.5

1 pair (1 months supply) £14.90 (see note 2)

2 pairs (2 months supply) £29.80

3 pairs (3 months supply) £39.90

4 pairs (4 months supply) £52.90

6 pairs (6 months supply) £69.90

12 pairs (12 months supply) £129.90

We also sell

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All In One Light Solution

Multi-purpose all in one solution for all contact lenses. 3 month pack.
Cleans, rinses, disinfects, stores, wets, removes deposits and lubricates. Includes soaking case and full instructions..

Contains a lubricating agent
Enhances lens comfort and stops lenses drying out.

Specially formulated for patients with sensitive eyes.

UK’s market-leading multipurpose solution
Successfully used by more practitioners and patients than any other multipurpose solution product.

Removes typical build up of proteins, lipids and calcium.

Suitable for use with all lenses, including silicone hydrogel

Greater patient compatibility.

Please Note: For orders outside the UK, there will be a £7 postage surcharge for orders containing solutions. This will be added after the order has reached us.

3 Months Supply (1 box) £19.99

6 Months Supply (2 boxes) £39.90

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Acuvue Oasys

A real breakthrough for contact lens wearers. ACUVUE® OASYS Brand Contact Lenses with HYDRACLEAR Plus are the new contact lenses from Johnson & Johnson designed to help eyes stay moist and fresh all day long.

They provide unbelievable comfort even in demanding conditions, like in an air conditioned office, when using a PC or on a plane.

Features and Benefits include: The highest level of UV Blocking available in today’s soft contact lens market greater than 99% UVB and 95% UVA1. Inside-out mark - to help you insert your lenses correctly every time. Reduced contact lens related dryness . A soft and silky feel . Wear as either a two weekly lens on a daily basis or 1 week on extended wear basis.

Are they right for you?

ACUVUE® OASYS® with HYDRACLEAR® Plus contact lenses are ideal if you:

- Want that ‘no lens feeling’
- Spend long hours working on computers
- Spend time in heated or air-conditioned environments which can dry out the air

Why try them?

ACUVUE® OASYS® with HYDRACLEAR® Plus lenses bring you all these benefits:
- That ‘no lens feeling1 (8 out of 10 wearers actually forget they have them in)
- Exceptional comfort when watching TV or working at a computer
- Exceptional comfort in dry environments such as heated or air-conditioned spaces
- Relief for tired and dry eyes during contact lens wear
- Superior oxygen delivery for healthy looking eyes
- High UV protection

6 pairs (3 months supply) £39.90
12 pairs (6 months supply) £78.90
24 pairs (12 months supply) £156.90

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Please note: our prices may be subject to change without notice. Information on this web site is provided purely for informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own Optician or any other medical professional. Please ensure you have your eyes examined regularly and always follow your eye care professional's instructions for the proper use and care. Thank you for visiting The Contact Lens Shop.