Who Invented Eyeglasses


Who Invented Eyeglasses - while no one really know exactly how many Americans rely on glasses/contacts to improve their vision, it is estimated that over half of us use some sort of vision correcting aids.

Whether it's prescription eyeglasses or reading glasses purchased from the drugstore, glasses make our lives easier. Although everyone is familiar with glasses themselves, it is likely that very few of us have actually researched who invented eyeglasses.

The First Form of Eyeglasses

  • There is some confusion concerning exactly who invented eyeglasses, however, even in the 1st Century AD., it was said that Emperor Nero used an emerald to improve his vision.
  • The use of glasses apparently gained popularity in the 1200's after Marco Polo noticed the Chinese using them. However, the Chinese said that they were actually already being used during the 11th Century by Arabians.
  • Although Roger Bacon stated in 1268 that it was possible to correct vision using special lenses, he is not recognized as the person who invented eyeglasses. It is said that Salvino D'Armate is the man who invented eyeglasses in 1284.
  • Early eyeglasses were actually not glasses at all, they were known as "reading stones" that were placed on top of the reading material that needed to be magnified. Not long after that, lenses with frames were developed that could be held in front of the eyes to improve the reading experience.
  • Although these types of eyeglasses were popular, they were impractical because the users had to be stationary while using them, otherwise they wouldn't stay on their face. Glasses as we know them, with frames and "arms" were actually developed by optician, Edward Scarlett in 1727. This addition of arms on eyeglasses caused them to be known as spectacles.

The Next Phase

  • Because it became known that there were some deeper and more serious problems that caused people to have problems seeing, lenses with more corrective properties were developed.
  • Although Benjamin Franklin is not the man who invented eyeglasses, he is the man who invented bifocals in 1784. It is said that because of his vision problems, myopia and presbyopia, he had to carry around two pairs of glasses, and bifocals allowed him to be able to wear just one pair of spectacles in order to help with his vision issues.
  • Franklin was not the only inventor who made important discoveries that helped correct a vision problem that many people have. In 1825, a British astronomer named George Airy, developed spectacle lenses that were able to correct astigmatism.
  • Since so many people rely on some time of corrective lenses to help improve their vision, it is important that glasses frames are as fashionable as the people who wear them.
  • While many people prefer frames that are practical and go with everything in their wardrobe, another popular option that has recently gained extreme popularity are glasses with no frame.
  • These frameless glasses almost give the illusion of floating on the face, and since they're just clear with either gold or silver colored arms, they are guaranteed to match everything. While most people prefer to buy one pair of reasonably priced eyeglasses frames, others prefer to buy several pairs of expensive designer frames for everyday of the week.
  • Whether they are Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, or CHANEL, these designer frames might be easy on the eyes, but they're not very easy on the wallet. When selecting glasses frames from one of these designers, expect to pay upwards of $300 for the frames alone.
  • Because glasses are sometimes considered more of an accessory than a necessity, even those who don't have to wear glasses enjoy wearing "fashion" glasses.
  • Instead of having prescription lenses, fashion glasses have lenses that don't offer any type corrective qualities. Women wear these types of glasses for many different reasons, but a popular reason is that they allow those who wear them to look and feel more intelligent, and they feel that it gives them advantage in certain situations such as job interviews, important meetings and dates.
  • Whatever the reason, fashion eyeglasses can be can be found just about everywhere, and continue to grow in popularity.

Prescription Sunglasses To The Rescue

  • Prescriptions sunglasses were developed to offer necessary UV protection to the eyes of those who couldn't wear traditional sunglasses. Instead having regular lenses, prescription sunglasses lenses offer the same corrective qualities of regular glasses.
  • The only down side is that instead of buying a $12 pair of sunglasses like everyone else, the prescription sunglasses are about as expensive as a regular pair of glasses, and for this reason, many people prefer wearing contact lenses and wearing non-prescription sunglasses instead.
  • The best way to care for your eyeglasses is to wash them gently with warm soap and water and dry with a non abrasive cloth. By applying a special lens cleansing solution and drying with a soft cloth, your eyeglasses will look like they did they day you bought them.
  • When you're cleaning your glasses, remember to refrain from using harsh cleansers and abrasive cloths. Don't get in a hurry and handle your glasses too roughly because you will run the risk of breaking them.

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter

More On Fashion Topics

Return to the top of the Who Invented Eyeglasses page

Return to the top of the Fashion Advice page

$5 Standard Shipping button
Carol Thompson Cosmetics logo

Do You Know What
Color Analysis Is?

It's learning how to buy colors that flatter your skintone, hair and eye color.

To purchase swatches

Fabric Swatches

Summer fabric swatches

Summer Woman

summer woman

Winter Fabric Swatches

Winter fabric swatches

Winter Woman

Winter Woman

Fabric Swatches

Autumn fabric swatches

Autumn Woman

Fabric Swatches

Spring fabric swatches

Spring Woman