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Did you know that everyone used to read with the Naked Eye? Glasses and their history.

You’ve heard our story but how about the story of glasses in this blog we are going to go through a brief history of fun facts about eyeglass history. Eyeglasses have been around for a long time and since their first renditions, they have evolved quite a lot.  From the oldest version of “glassesto the invention of modern glasses to the beginning of glasses being used in fashion, the eyeglass world has come a long way. 

Oldest specs found

The oldest specs ever found were discovered in a Chinese tomb, and are believed to have been worn by the owner of the tomb. Carbon dating suggests that these glasses were made sometime around 700 BC, with the lenses being made from polished quartz and the frames being crafted from bronze. They were held together with wires, just like many pairs of glasses today.

In these ancient times, glasses would have been worn for astigmatism or shortsightedness (or both), because the lenses were convex (curving outwards) rather than concave (curving inwards).

The Invention of spectacles

This is the first known pair of eyeglasses and they were invented by Salvino degli Armati in Florence, Italy, in approximately 1280. After that, the use of glasses spread to Venice and other parts of Europe. The lenses were made from quartz and polished finely. There is evidence that these early spectacles were used not just for distance vision but also for reading. In those days, you needed a lot of money if you wanted to get your eyesight corrected with a pair of spectacles because there weren’t many people trained to make them. This meant only the wealthy could afford this new invention. That’s why most people still continued using their bare eyes for reading before the 15th century when mass production began and it became possible for everyone to use spectacles.

Bifocals and trifocals

Bifocals invented a century later by Benjamin Franklin, are lenses that have two different refractive powers to correct for both nearsightedness and farsightedness. By 1825, George Airy invented the first concave lens meant to aid in navigation while reading. The lens was mounted on a pivot between two pieces of glass and could be flipped up so the user could see normally through the other side of the lens. This invention paved the way for trifocals with three separate focal lengths that allow for vision correction for both distance and intermediate vision (driving) with one more slice at the bottom for near vision.

This was revolutionary because prior to these inventions if you needed glasses for driving or reading (or both), you would fumble with your eyewear to flip them up/down or even carry around an extra pair. But now? With bifocal and trifocal lenses? You can change focus seamlessly from far-away objects to close-up objects without glasses-flipping gymnastics!

Novelty glasses

In contrast to the frames we wear on a daily basis, the novelty glasses of this world are a bizarre array of inventions. They range from safety glasses to 3D glasses, night vision goggles all the way to X-ray specs.

Novelty glasses are also used to play and watch games. Those funky plastic sunglasses you’re given while playing beer pong? Novelty glasses. And those bulky, clunky frames you put on at an arcade when you play video games? They're novelty glasses too! These types of specs have come a long way throughout history and have proven themselves to be here for the long haul.

Lenses and Materials

Throughout history, lenses have been made from many - some questionable- materials. However, these days, you can get lenses made of glass, plastic, or polycarbonate.

The material of your lenses will depend on how strong your prescription is and how active you are. Glass lenses are heavy and very scratch-resistant, but they can break more easily than the other materials. Plastic lenses are lighter than glass, but they scratch more easily. Polycarbonate lenses are extremely lightweight and impact resistant — this material is often used for kids' glasses and sports eyewear because it's less likely to crack if banged against a wall or dropped on the playground.

Lens Coloring

There are more lens options than just color. For example, if you need vision correction, but also have to have a pair of sunglasses in your car at all times for driving, transitions lenses may be for you. They shift from clear to dark in sunlight and back again when you return indoors. You can even choose what color you want the lenses to be in the sun.

Colored lenses can also be used for fashion or protection purposes. Brown and green tints are often used by those who drive frequently because they enhance contrast during daytime driving conditions. Blue light filtering glasses are popular with people who spend their time working at computers as they decrease eye strain and fatigue from blue light exposure.

If UV protection is important to you, you should look into IR protective lenses as well as polarized lenses which eliminate glare reflected off water and other surfaces.

Anti-reflective coating will help with your late-night computer use too by eliminating internal reflections within the lens that make it difficult to see your own eyes through the lens when looking in a mirror or when photographed by a camera flash (Have ever been blinded by yourself? It's not fun).

Eyewear has been around for a while, and it'll be here for a while longer

Most people don't realize that eyewear is one of the most successful technologies in the history of mankind. Eyeglasses have been around since the invention of sight, and they're likely to be around for a long time to come. Most people don't even know what it's like to live without glasses. We've all become so used to being able to see well that we've completely forgotten how things were before we had them—and it was not pretty!

Before there were glasses, humans had no choice but to squint through their lives with the naked eye. Also, they had much more trouble reading. People who tried going out in public without wearing glasses would get made fun of for having only 20/20 vision or even better than that! Although the history of Eyewear Junkie is a bit short, we don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon! Eyewear Junkie is now a part of the history and evolution of eyeglasses!

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