How are Soft Contact Lenses Made?

Science is amazing. It is responsible for so many inventions that improve our lives on a daily basis. Soft contact lenses are one of those improvements and have progressed a long way over the past century. Phoenix eye doctors prescribe them routinely, and many people have benefited from their use over the years.┬áHere’s how they are made.

Originally constructed from glass, contacts are now made of plastic polymers and “hydrogels” that are comfortable, convenient, and healthy. Phoenix eye doctors can prescribe a wide array of lens brands and models with different features.┬áThere are two main ways that soft lenses are made, both of which involve automated machinery and robotics in very advanced techniques.

Lathe Cutting

One way that soft contact lenses are made is by individual shaping and cutting the lens material on a lathe. The material is left in its hardened form without hydration, and then a disk of the material is placed via robotic arms onto the lathe. A computer program tells the lathe exactly what shape and size the finished product needs to be, and the machine goes to work, whittling away the material that isn’t needed. The result? A perfect contact lens, manufactured in the exact size, shape, and prescription required. The whole process may take just minutes. After the lens is formed, it is then soaked and hydrated, and tested thoroughly.

Injection Molding

Injection Molding is a manufacturing method where plastics are heated up until they are liquid. A machine then forces the liquid into many molds that are the correct shape and size. The liquid takes the shape of the mold, and then is rapidly cooled. After the contact lenses are removed from the molds, they are trimmed and polished so there are no ragged edges. They will be hydrated and put through a rigorous testing process. Injection Molding is a very inexpensive manufacturing process and will produce thousands of contacts in seconds, making it economical, efficient, and the preferred method for the production of contact lenses.

Visit your Phoenix eye doctor to learn more about the science behind contact lenses and see if they are right for your vision needs.

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