In the movie Iron Man (2008), we frequently cut to Tony's face inside the helmet, using a HUD that tells him power level, altitude, and lots of other information. I think it's pretty safe to say that this style of shot was created for the films as a way to get their lead actor on screen without having to take his mask off (although they do their fair share of that as well).
It doesn't really make sense visually - I'm sure he has a HUD, but I imagine it'd be localized to his eyeholes - but it's more of an "illusion of reality" type of thing. It gives you the information you need to know, but makes it more visually appealing for the audience.
Of course, being such an iconic visual, it made its way into the comics as well. I first noticed it in Invincible Iron Man #1 (October 2015), and thought it was an All-New, All-Different Marvel Now! change, like the quinjets.
But I did some digging, and I was able to find one in Iron Man #1 (October 2012).
Now, I can't be certain without looking through every appearance of Iron Man from 2008 to 2012, but I'm willing to say this is the first appearance for a few reasons:
1) This would put it after The Avengers, which means there have been three movies to cement in the minds of the general audience that this is how Tony interacts with his armor.
2) This issue features him trying out an experimental armor, which is a good place to introduce a new feature such as this.
3) This issue is part of Marvel NOW!, which is also a good place to introduce new features like this.
4) This was the last panel of the first issue, which definitely says "hey! look at this new thing!" to me.