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Eyeglasses: Seeing Things Clearly and Stylishly

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Eyeglasses: Seeing Things Clearly and Stylishly

Today, we take the wearing of eyeglasses for granted. We take annual exams. We receive advice on eye care. We also have specialists who write prescriptions for eyeglasses. We can then go to a store in places such as Grand Rapids that specializes in eye wear and select a pair of eyeglasses that meets our visual needs while satisfying our yearn to remain in style. This has not always been the case. The history of eyewear is a lengthy one, dating back to the early Roman Empire.

Inventing Eyeglasses

We owe the invention of eyeglasses to discoveries in Pisa, Italy. By the late 13th century, crystals provided the material from which lenses were made. These early lenses, however, were far from ideal. They suffered from two major issues:

* Heavy – this meant they had to be held to the eyes by hand
* Lacked Uniformity – this resulted more often than not in blurred vision

When actual glass was used, problems did not disappear. Although such eyeglasses could be worn because they were lighter, they stilled created visual difficulties. This was the result of a problem known as “chromatic aberration.”

Up until the 1700s, Italy lead the way in providing the world with eyeglasses. Florence, in particular lead the rest of the known world. It was a major producer, innovator and seller of these products. The eyewear produced was inexpensive and readily available. You could also purchase more elaborate eyeglasses.

In Spain, as early as the 15th century, eyewear was held to be one means of looking more dignified and regal. In England, Chester More Hall (1703-171) came up with a means of correcting and improving the use of glass by combining two types. These were “crown glass” and “flint glass.”

Later Developments in Eyeglasses

In the 1700s, the major producers of eyeglasses were located in Germany. Bifocals first made an appearance in London, England during this century. The wearing and selling of spectacles also had made its way to the United States. In the 19th century, opticians and eyeglass manufacturers quickly established their shops in such cities as Rochester, New York. Americans continued to build on the success of current trends e.g. the pince-nez, as well as incorporating other such things as plastic frames.

In Grand Rapids, MI, they were not popular but, as time has passed, they were accepted. They remained heavy and unflattering until the advent of improved technology collided with the fashion industry. The result has been a revolution.

Wearing Eyeglasses

Today, anyone who lives in Grand Rapids knows times have changed. It is no longer a matter of sacrificing style for practicality. Today, you can have it all – eyeglasses that are both practical and stylish.

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