For most of us, glasses are a part of our everyday lives. We rely on them to help us see clearly and perform tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. But have you ever stopped to think about how glasses came to be? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the history of glasses and how they’ve evolved over time to meet our needs.
But first, if you live in Lexington and search “optical near me” you’re bound to see My Pharmacy & Optical. We are a full-service pharmacy that also offers a wide selection of glasses and contact lenses. Come check us out!
Okay, let’s begin.
The Early Days of Glasses
The first known pair of glasses was created in Italy in the 13th century. At that time, vision problems were often treated with quartz crystals that were ground down into a convex shape. This helped to magnify objects and make them appear larger. However, these early glasses were very cumbersome to wear and certainly didn’t look fashionable!
It wasn’t until the late 13th century that the first crude corrective lenses made from glass were developed. These lenses were still quite thick and not very durable, but they were a major improvement over the early quartz crystals.
By the 14th century, glassmaking techniques had improved to the point where thinner and more durable lenses could be manufactured. The first known eyeglasses were made in Northern Italy in this timeframe.
The Rise of Spectacles
In the 15th century, a new type of eyewear known as spectacles became popular. Spectacles consisted of two small glass lenses mounted in frames that rested on the wearer’s ears and nose. The use of spectacles spread throughout Europe during this period, though they did not become common in England until the early 16th century.
During the Renaissance era, both reading and writing became more common, which led to an increased demand for spectacles among scholars and other intellectuals. At this time, spectacles began to be seen as a sign of wisdom and learning, rather than a mark of old age or feeblemindedness as they had been previously viewed.
People couldn’t simply search “opticals near me” on the internet to get the solutions they needed. Advanced eyeglass stores in Lexington, SC weren’t a thing back then either.
The Invention of Lenses for Far-Sightedness and Astigmatism
In 1604, English scientist Johannes Kepler published a treatise called Dioptrice in which he described his theories about optics and lenses. In this work, Kepler proposed that curved lenses could be used to correct myopia, or near-sightedness. He also suggested that astigmatic errors could be corrected by using different forms of lenses for each eye. However, it would be nearly two centuries before either of these ideas was put into practice!
It wasn’t until 1887 that a German optician designed the first pair of glasses for myopia. The design used a concave lens. This design helped correct myopia by bending light rays so that they would come into focus on the retina rather than in front or behind it.
The Rise of Contact Lenses
A few years later, another German optician named Adolf Fick developed the first successful contact lenses. Fick’s design was based on Kepler’s theories and used a concave lens to correct for myopia. However, these early contact lenses were made from heavy materials like glass or gold and were very uncomfortable to wear.
The invention allowed people with astigmatism to see clearly for both near and distant objects without having to constantly remove and re-insert their glasses. This invention was revolutionary at the time and remains largely unchanged today!
By the early 20th century, corrective lenses had become smaller, lighter, and more comfortable to wear thanks to advances in glassmaking and frame design. And in the 21st century, corrective lenses are more commonly made from plastic than glass. However, the basic design of eyeglasses has remained largely unchanged for centuries!
Glasses had come a long way from their humble beginnings in 13th-century Italy! While we may take them for granted today, glasses have helped millions of people see clearly and live better lives It’s amazing what a difference something so simple can make!
Thankfully, all Lexington residents have to do these days is search “optical near me” on Google, and they’ll be able to find My Pharmacy & Optical. Our team would be happy to help you find the perfect pair of glasses or contacts for your needs.