When you look at one of our contact lenses, they don’t appear to be more than tiny slivers of plastic. But each CooperVision contact lens is a highly sophisticated combination of technological design and advanced materials. Read on to learn how these little medical marvals are made.
Early attempts at contact lenses from the 1800’s were affixed with wax or made from heavy blown glass–ouch! Today’s methods are a bit more sophisticated. Soft contact lenses can be made in one of two ways: lathe cutting or injection molding.
- Lathe cutting is a process where small, hard disks of contact lens material are placed on a spinning shaft like a miniature potter’s wheel that rotates at 6,000 revolutions per minute and shaped with computerized cutting tools. Once created, the lens then goes through different stages of polishing and hydrating before being tested for quality assurance.
- Injection molding is a process in which soft contact material is heated until it’s in a liquid state, then it’s injected into precise, pressurized molds. Once shaped, they then go through polishing, hydrating and quality assurance testing.
The contact lens market was revolutionized in the 1960’s and 70’s by the development of water-loving polymers called “hydrogels” resulting in the beginning of “soft” contact lenses. Some of these kind of lenses can hold as high as 70% water. Today’s silicone hydrogel lenses which add silicone to the hydrogel material are known for exceptional comfort, oxygen permeability, and performance.
Not all brands of contact lenses are created equally. CooperVision’s lenses are made with our own unique technology to fit more people more comfortably with better performance. For example:
- Aquaform Technology is a combination of material technologies designed for optimum comfort. Unlike some lenses that come with artificial coatings and wetting agents that dissipate over time, the molecular structure of the Aquaform Technology lens material locks in water allowing for longer periods of wear. The lens shape of these lenses has also been optimized for increased comfort. This technology can be found in our Biofinity and Biomedics lenses.
- PC Technology is a unique process which attracts water by allowing the lens to form hydrogen bonds with the water molecules causing them to actually become part of the lens. By imitating substances naturally found on the outside of human eye cells, this technology reduces dryness and improves comfort. PC Technology is used to make the entire Proclear family of lenses.
No two eyes are the same, so even though most contacts are made in a similar way, there are seemingly endless of permutations of styles and fit parameters from which to choose. Knowing how contacts are made can help in deciding which kind is best for you.