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Some Glasses History Trivia

Throughout history people have had vision problems. Today, we’re incredibly appreciative of all the modern technologies and scientific developments that help protect our sight. The different ways that people have coped with vision problems provide some interesting factoids…

1. The Roman Emperor, Nero

Nero reportedly looked through an emerald to watch the gladiatorial games. This may have modified or magnified his sight, but it may have also been a technique to help cut the glare of the sun.

2. Roman Author, Seneca

Looking through a bottle full of water was Seneca’s preferred method of vision correction. He claimed to have read “all the books of Rome” using this corrective lens. Clever, Seneca.

3. Monocles & Scissors Glasses

The biggest challenge of practical corrective lenses was finding a way to keep the lens in front of the eye. That’s why so many varieties of hardware have been produced, from the monocle, to the pince-nez, to lorgnettes. The invention of scissors glasses helped replace the monocle, providing two lenses on a “Y”-shaped frame. They typically had a ring at the end of the handle so a gold chain or ribbon could be attached to drape around one’s neck.

4. Reading Stones

Lumps of glass, called reading stones, were used by medieval monks to read holy texts. Placing them on the page, the lettering would be magnified.

5. The First Contact Lenses

German glassblower, F.E. Muller created the first successful contact lens when he designed a tiny glass lens for a man whose eyelid had been destroyed by cancer. The man wore the lens until his death 20 years later.

6. Polarizing Lenses

The polarizing lens filter was patented in 1929 by Edwin Land, who then started the company Polaroid and started mass-marketing sunglasses.

Interested In How Glasses Frames Are Made?

Technology and manufacturing techniques have come a long way since the days of handmade scissors glasses!

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Today we better understand the properties and benefits of refractive light. We have the technology to make lenses and frames to fit your exact needs. And, we have so much more knowledge about the eye itself—how it works and how to keep it healthy.

Are your corrective lenses making you feel like you’re back in George Washington’s day? Let’s visit.

Thanks for the trust you place in our practice. Thanks for making us one of your lifelong health partners.