The Chemistry of Contact Lenses


A contact is a clear disk like film that is curved to form to the shape of your eye. I chose to do the chemistry of contact lenses because i thought it would be interesting to learn about. My life is affected by the chemistry of contacts because without them i wouldn’t be able to see.Composition of ...

    • silicon
    • fluorine
    • hydrogel
    • oxygen
    • hydrogen peroxide
    • polymethylmethacrylate-hard lenses
    • soft, flexible, plastics
    • hydroxyethyl methacrylate-soft lenses

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

Soft and hard lenses

    • -Soft
    • these are made of a material called hydroxyethyl methacrylate which is a plastic hydrogel polymer that has a high water content
    • -hard lenses
  • these are made of a material called polymethylmethacrylate

Chemistry's Role

Contact lenses are made in a lab so they are not naturally occurring. There are a couple different ways to make them and one way is by a process called injection molding. This method is only used to make soft contact lenses. You start by heating the hydrogel contact material and putting it into a mold that will shape the contact as it dries. Another way to make is them is by a process called lathe cutting. This way takes more time but it is more precise and it’s for both soft and hard lenses. The main components of a contact lense is the material it is made of. You can use hydrogels for soft lenses and a plastic polymer for hard lenses.

Background Research

Contacts are medical devices used on the eyes and they are usually have a prescription in them so you would get them from your eye doctor. There are a couple different ways to make them and one way is that you put the materials that make up the contact into a mold and as it dries it take the curved shape of a contact.


This site gives you a short description on what contacts are made of and how they work in the eye.

This site will give you a description on the history and manufacturing of contact lenses it also will talk about the science behind it.

On this website you will learn about the materials that are in the lense and what makes them comfortable to wear.

While looking at this website you will come across other uses for contacts other than clearing your vision.

Although contacts come in handy there are some safety issues with them and this site talks about ways to avoid them.

This site talks about contact solutions and keeping them clean and replenished

Contacts are made up of something called hydrogels and they keep the contacts soft by absorbing huge amounts of water. You can get hydrogels that have different water amounts like low water, medium or high water content. There are also ionic and nonionic hydrogels.

Talks about silicone hydrogel lenses.

The main components


how they work

how they are made

About the Author

Sami Webb is a Junior at Billings Senior High School. She has honor roll and takes part in national honors society. After high school she plans on attending MSU Billings to take her generals and maybe moving to MSU Bozeman to finish out college.