The last century has seen many milestones in the evolution of the contact lens. From the transition from glass to plastic lenses to the invention of the corneal lens in 1948, through to the introduction of soft hydrogel lenses in 1971, the evolution of the contact lens into its modern design has allowed for greater comfort and safety. Currently, 76% of all soft contact lenses fitted use silicone hydrogel materials, with 48% of patients being prescribed daily disposables, although there is wide variation by country.
The introduction of daily disposable contact lenses in 1995 was a pivotal milestone, offering wearers greater convenience.1 Wearers could discard their lenses after one day of wear rather than cleaning and storing lenses. There has been a steady increase in daily disposable fitting rates in many markets,3 and by 2021, daily disposables had a global market revenue share of 57% in an industry valued at $10bn. The continued growth of the contact lens market, especially daily disposables,5 is contributing to their environmental impact. This is largely due to the increasing volume of lenses and related packaging being discarded every day.6
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