The Evolution of Eye Glasses

Eye glasses have taken their place among many other things that despite the amazing changes in technology, we tend to take for granted. Although many give Benjamin Franklin the credit for the invention, writings between 1265 and 1290 indicate the use of lenses that aided vision. The first eyeglass frames were made of metal or bone and the lenses from quartz. A few hundred years later, production methods for glass made it possible to eliminate bubbles and other imperfections lending glass as a viable option for lenses.

More than four hundred years after the first reference to lenses were made, frames with arms that used a person’s ears for support were created. Although Benjamin Franklin obviously didn’t invent eyeglasses, in the mid 1870’s he invented the first bi-focal, which corrected both vision problems he suffered from with one lens. Quality of life has certainly been changed in dramatic ways by the invention of eye glasses and even further by contact lenses and corrective surgeries. Contacts are more efficient in correcting vision defects and laser surgery can correct defective vision completely and permanently. No doubt, it would give the great visionary Benjamin Franklin great joy if he could see the remarkable progress in this aid to vision.

When contact lenses were invented, glasses lost some of their popularity. However, it seems they have made a comeback and in a big way. With the help of fashion designers, they are now a natural accessory. A look is easily changed by the addition of glasses, whether prescription or not. Some think wearing glasses makes them automatically look smarter. With all the options available in shape, color, and weight it is understandable that they have become so fashionable.

Considered an even bigger fashion statement in eyewear are sunglasses. In 1752 James Ayscough developed glasses with green lenses and strongly believed they relived eye fatigue. By the early 1900’s the production of sunglasses was inspired by multiple well known figures. In 1929, Sam Grant marketed his version of sunglasses called Foster Grants. This new form of eye glasses exploded, and by the 1050’s were obviously here to stay. The success of sunglasses was further guaranteed when Edwin H. Land developed polarized sheeting material that could be used in sunglasses. In addition to sunglasses, the material was used for 3-D movies. In 1937, Land and George Wheelright partnered up and created the Polaroid Company which brought about the polaroid camera another of Land’s developments.