Brief history of optical developments

Brief history of optical developments

The first optical developments date far back to ancient Egypt. However, the first written documentation of invention and usage of an optical aid tool is estimated for 1000AD. It was called the reading stone. This sphere made of glass, was laid on top of the material that needed to be magnified. Except for reading, stories tell that the Roman emperor used to watch the gladiatorial games using an emerald as a corrective lens.


 

Later, in the 13th century, an Italian named Salvino D’Armate invented the first wearable eyeglass, which claimed to fix hyperopia. The invention was very successful, and many people tried to claim the invention as theirs.

500 years later, an eyeglass designer named James Aysough, felt that white colored glass created an irritating glare. So he added tinted glass onto his double-hinged spectacles. Although these were in effect the first sunglasses, they were not made to help shield the eyes from the sun, but rather to corrected vision problems. The first pair of sunglasses, which were meant just for protection from the sun, was sold only at 1929.

An interesting design development had to do with the way the lenses themselves were being attached to the eyes. Starting with a simple stone held in one’s hand and developing to a “scissors- like” attachment sitting on ones nose. These scissors style remained popular for its stylish appearance even when ribbons had been developed attaching the lenses to the head, or even later on when the modern style of glasses, held by temples passing over the ears, was developed in 1727 by the British optician Edward Scarlett.

Nowadays, the verity of lenses and frames is broader than ever, and so is their popularity. While contact lenses or laser surgery could fix sight deficiencies, glasses are still chosen by most people, even if only as a fashion accessory.


 

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