Have you ever thought about what could happen if there’s a pair of glasses that can completely restore your 20/20 vision? Although eyeglasses are now worn more than ever before and some have become a fashion statement, they are not a recent innovation. History shows that they have been in use for centuries and have served people with poor vision well, evolving with the times to finally become the glasses that we know today.

creative glasses

Below are some interesting facts about one of mankind’s significant inventions – glasses.

Fact #1: The earliest glasses were so-called reading stones

The first vision aid was invented around 1000 AD and was called a reading stone. It was a small glass sphere that could be held in the hand. When the user hovered it above a text, it would make small letters appear larger, making for easier reading.

Fact #2: The first glasses were very uncomfortable

The first record we have for wearable eyeglasses dates back to 1284 in Italy. The first eyeglasses were just glass lenses that were set into heavy frames and were either held up with the hand or placed on the nose bridge. The frames were made from natural materials, such as leather, wood, copper, or bone.

Fact #3: The first modern eyeglasses were made in Spain

Eyeglass manufacturers in Spain in the 1700s were the first to attach ribbons to the lenses. These ribbons were looped around the ears of the wearer to keep the glasses from always slipping down the nose. That innovation eventually gave birth to the invention of the modern temple arms. These allow the lenses to comfortably rest on the bridge of the nose as well as on the ears, so the glasses don’t slip down.

Fact #4: Eyeglasses are not only made from glass

Not all eyeglasses lenses are made of glass. The majority of lenses of both sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses are made from one of the following materials:

  • Polycarbonate: this is a plastic that is extremely durable and even shatter-resistant.
  • CR-38: this is another incredibly durable plastic.
  • Glass: this is still used and considered a very reliable material for lenses, especially if the wearer’s eyesight is abnormally poor. However, glass is no longer as popular as either CR-38 or polycarbonate.

Nowadays, lenses are made of modern plastics with a filter that protects the eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The lenses are thinner and significantly lighter than glass, and also more durable – they don’t break easily and are more scratch-resistant as well.

Fact #5: Ben Franklin invented bifocal glasses

Did you know that aside from being a Founding Father of the United States and the inventor of the lightning rod, Benjamin Franklin also invented bifocal lenses? Being both near- and far-sighted, he was forced to use two pairs of glasses, but he grew tired of switching between them all the time. So he cut the lenses from his two pairs of spectacles and placed half of each lens in one frame. The lenses on top helped him see distant objects, while the ones on the bottom helped with looking at nearby objects and of course reading.

Fact #6: Eyeglasses with the wrong prescription will not damage your eyes

Contrary to popular belief, wearing eyeglasses with the wrong prescription will not damage your eyes. However, it may lead to headaches due to eye fatigue or eye strain if you wear the glasses for a long time. At worst, it will fail to correct your vision and will cause blurry vision that makes you feel uncomfortable, but it will never damage your eyes. Eyeglasses alter the light rays that the eye receives – they do not change any part of the eye itself.

Fact #7: Wearing eyeglasses will not weaken your vision

Eyeglasses are worn to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, presbyopia, or astigmatism. In these cases, they will never weaken the eyes, just as they will not fix the vision problems permanently. Eyeglasses are just external optical aids that support the vision of people with blurred vision, which is a result of refractive errors. The exceptions are the glasses worn by children with lazy eye (amblyopia) or crossed eyes (strabismus). These glasses are worn temporarily to aid in straightening the eyes or improving vision. Not wearing the glasses can result in these vision defects becoming permanent.

Studies reveal that half of the world’s population might need to rely on some glasses or corrective lenses. If you’re one of those billions, imagine yourself with a ribbon tied around your head to keep your heavy glass lenses from slipping down – or having to bring two pairs of glasses wherever you go. Aren’t you happy about all the innovations in the world of glasses?


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