History of Eyeglasses

History of Eyeglasses

Many patients in Laramie require some form of vision correction. Today there are several options for vision correction, including eyeglasses. Getting new eyeglasses after a trip to the eye doctor is a simple, straightforward task; however, eyeglasses have not always been available.

It’s difficult to imagine a world without glasses, but the reality is that eyeglasses have not always been around. So who invented glasses and how were they first made? Read on to learn a brief history of eyeglasses.

The truth of when eyeglasses were invented and who came up with this concept is unknown. What we do know is that the earliest lenses, made sometime during the 1200s in Italy, were made from quartz and were usually set into bone, metal or leather. Eventually, as early opticians figured out how to make glass without bubbles and other obstructions, lenses were made out of glass. Glass blowers would make lenses of varied thickness based on rudimentary vision testing. As these glasses became more popular, the Italian creations spread throughout Europe, mostly available to the wealthy.

Eyeglasses did not become mainstream in people’s lives until the invention of the printing press in 1452. Whereas reading material was sparse before this time, the printing press made books far more accessible and affordable for everyone. As a result, reading glasses also began to increase in production.

The 1700s saw the introduction of what might be considered the modern eyeglass. Until this time, eyeglasses had to be held by hand or simply sat on the bridge of the nose unsupported. The 1700s saw the introduction of temples on glasses to support them from behind the ears. Benjamin Franklin is widely credited for the invention of the bifocal in 1784 when he glued the top half of his distance glasses to the bottom half of his reading glasses.

During the early to mid-1900s glasses began to be mass produced, helping to reduce their cost. The mid-1900s saw eyeglasses become as stylish as they were functional. 

Today, patients in Laramie have a wide variety of lens and style options to choose from for their vision correction needs. To schedule an exam for a new prescription, contact Snowy Range Vision Center at 307-742-2020 or website today or stop by our office to browse our extensive eyeglass selection.   


Snowy Range Vision Center

405 South 30th Street
Laramie, Wyoming 82070

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