Picking new glasses is a difficult decision, they are prominent on your face and you may wear them daily. Therefore, you need something which you won’t get bored off over time. And luckily for you, you have more choice than ever before.
Have you ever wondered how the glasses you wear were developed? Vision is our most used sense and so before glasses were available to everyone, having an impaired vision was a massive hindrance. It is easy to take them for granted but glasses were not a single invention, they evolved over thousands of years. Here is a brief history of how glasses were created and how the future might look for people who need corrective eyewear.
The first known lenses date back to around 750 BC and were made of crystal. Although there is some debate as to whether their function was primarily decorative or whether they were actually used to aid sight.
Following this, it is believed that it was the Romans who first discovered that you could use glass to magnify things using water. They even had their own version of anti-glare. It is said that Emperor Nero held emerald to his eye to stop him from being blinded by the sun when watching gladiator fights.
Water and glass were used until around 1000 C.E. when ‘reading stones’ were created and used across Europe, originating in Venice. This was a hemispherical piece of glass that could be placed over a document. Thus, removing the need for water.
As for wearable eyeglasses, they first appear in Italy in the 13th Century. Lenses were glass-blown and held in place by frames made from wood, leather or animal horn.
During the Renaissance, technology improved, and the invention of the printing press that more people were able to learn to read. Thus, the demand for corrective lenses increased rapidly. However, these lenses were hand-held and sometimes attached to some sort of ribbon so that people could wear them around their necks. They were primarily used by people who were rich and well educated. At the time, they were praised as being one of the most useful inventions ever created.
These early glasses were restricted for reading things close up, glasses for short-sightedness did not appear until the middle of the 15th Century.
In the 18th Century over the ear frames were added which allowed people to wear them hands-free. By the 19th Century, they were being mass-produced and became more widely available.
By the 20th Century, the focus became making them lighter and less breakable. Modern glasses now come in a variety of styles to suit fashions and tastes. They also come with a variety of coatings such as anti-scratch or anti-glare.
The future of glasses is exciting. Smart glasses are being developed which track data from the wearer including health, navigation and even information from their phone.
Additionally, laser eye surgery has become increasingly popular and developments are even taking place here. Nanodrops are eyedrops that have the ability to repair corneas. Scientists are hopeful that they will be able to cure both near-sightedness and far-sightedness.