This is the second of a 4 part series on the modern optical marvel, eyeglasses. In the last installment, we learned eye glass lenses are really fabricated from industrial plastics. But since “eyeplastics” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, spectacles are still referred to most commonly as eye glasses or glasses. In this article, the history of glasses will be discussed.
There earliest reference to magnification is found in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in 500 BC The first written record looking through an object as a lens is found in the 1st century AD, written by Seneca the Younger, the tutor of the Roman emperor Nero. Nero himself was said to have looked on gladiator contests using an emerald as a magnification lens. Several written references to using optics and lenses for corrective purposes were dated to the 1200′s. Sunglasses were developed as early as the 1200′s and perhaps earlier as well. The Chinese has realized that smoky quartz could be utilized to protect the eyes from glare!
Salvino D’Armate of Italy is generally credited with inventing the usable pair of eyeglasses or spectacles as we think of them today. While the exact date and inventor is disputed due to lacking documentation, eyeglasses are known to have been created in Italy between 1280 and 1300.
Early eyeglass lenses were made of convex lenses and were able to correct hyperopia or farsightedness and presbyopia which is the decreasing ability to focus on close objects as a person ages. Nicholas of Cusa, a cardinal in the Catholic Church, in the 1400′s was credited with utilizing concave lenses to correct myopia or nearsightedness, but it was not until the 1600′s when Johannes Kepler published his work on optics and astronomy was a full scientific explanation given on how vision correction was possible through the use of refractive lenses.
In the late 1700′s, the great American inventor Benjamin Franklin created the first pair of bifocals. He suffered from both myopia and presbyopia and created the bifocal as a solution for himself instead of having to constantly switch pairs of eyeglasses. The first eyeglasses for astigmatism was created in the 1800′s by British astronomer George Airy. The evolution of spectacles themselves was equally prolonged over the years. Frames originally had to be held in place by hand or by pinching the nose. Other models such as the scissor-glasses were also popular for years even after modern day eyeglass frames, which are held in place by the temple over the ear, were created back in 1727. Eyeglasses in the olden days were heavy and certainly not as fashionable as some of the excellent options at today’s vision centers.
Thankfully, modern technologies have drastically improved. High tech plastics which are lighter and more impact resistant along with lighter and highly flexible and even rimless eyeglass frames make for high quality eyeglasses of all shapes and sizes to fill all medical needs and patient wants.
Whether patients need designer eyeglasses, eyeglasses frames, rimless eyeglasses, or designer sunglasses, Valuvision Eye Care has vision centers in Jacksonville FL, Orange Park nearby with qualified eye doctors ready to serve the whole family’s eye care and optometry needs in the greater Jacksonville area.