History of Glasses

3080 Words Mar 4th, 2008 13 Pages
Executive Summary:
The development of eyeglasses has been a long process, extending nearly 800 years and seeing numerous adaptations along the way. Throughout their existence, eyeglasses have transcended time (the same basic structure has reigned supreme for centuries). They have created new jobs and related products and have played a key role in the economic shift from a manufacturing focus to a service focus. At the same time, eyeglasses have impacted natural selection and allowed those who would otherwise be weeded out the ability to live and prosper. Eyeglasses' unintended consequence of continually degrading human eyesight and poor sustainability diminish the positive economic and social implications and place the future of this
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Until this time, all corrective lenses aided those who are farsighted; people unable to see objects near to their face (such as reading materials). However, this only corrects half of the problem. The development of the concave lens aided the nearsighted in seeing objects in the distance. Anecdotally, Pope Leo X, who could only see at very close range, wore concave glasses when hunting, claiming that they enabled him to see better than his companions.
From the moment they were invented, people struggled to figure out a way to keep glasses on the face. This problem is one that took 350 years to solve. Despite numerous adaptations to the original eyeglass over the years, the spectacle frame remained one of the best examples of poor engineering design. In order to balance themselves on the face, frames depend upon the nose and the ears. This is problematic because noses vary in size, shape and firmness and ears vary in symmetry, contour of cartilaginous support and amount of hair between frame and ear. Since no two faces are alike, a uniform construction of the eyeglass will not allow for optimal structural support.
The evolution of eyeglasses continued throughout the 17th century as Spanish spectacle makers experimented with ribbons of silk that could be attached to the frames and then looped over the ears. This invention accomplished two things. Firstly, it held corrected lenses on the face. Secondly, it removed the variable ear size by using ribbon,
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