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An Overview of Corrective Lenses Through History

Have you ever wondered how people with vision impairments were able to see before the invention of glasses or contact lenses? It turns out, humans have been using corrective lenses for centuries! Let’s explore the history of corrective lenses and how they have evolved to become the reliable vision correction tools we know today.

Centuries of Evolving Corrective Lenses
The earliest evidence we have of corrective lenses dates back to 60 AD in ancient Rome. These rudimentary lenses were made out of polished quartz or glass and were used by Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger to help him read. The first pair of spectacles (or glasses) weren't invented until 1286 in Italy, but it was not until after 1350 that they became widely available. During this time, spectacles could only be made out of very expensive materials like crystal or rock crystal, so only wealthy individuals had access to them.

Folding Frames and Prescription Lenses
It wasn’t until 1730 that folding frames were invented so that glasses could be carried around more easily. The following century saw the invention of prescription lenses, allowing opticians to create customized eyeglasses specifically tailored for a person's vision needs. In 1887, the American Optical Company began mass-producing metal frames for eyeglasses, making them significantly more affordable than before.

Glasses Today
Today, eyeglass frames are made from a variety of materials including plastic, titanium, stainless steel and even wood! Naturally, contact lenses have also come a long way since their inception in 1887 when German ophthalmologist Adolf Evers created them as an alternative to traditional glasses. Nowadays there is an array of contacts available on the market ranging from daily disposable lenses to extended wear contacts that can last up to 30 days without removal.     

As you can see, corrective lenses have come an incredibly long way since they were first invented in ancient Rome! From fragile crystal frames reserved exclusively for wealthy elites to innovative contact lens designs developed through modern science and technology — humanity’s quest for better vision has allowed us to create increasingly advanced vision correction tools over the centuries. Nowadays anyone can access these tools regardless of their financial situation — something unthinkable just a few hundred years ago! Whether you choose eyeglasses or contact lenses for your vision correction needs — rest assured knowing that you are benefitting from centuries' worth of advances in vision care technology!