There is one popular anecdote about former US President Theodore Roosevelt and his first pair of eyeglasses. Apparently, the young President Roosevelt was so excited to finally witness the world come into focus that he considered that specific moment when he first wore his eyeglasses to be one of the most memorable of his entire life.

This story may be amusing for people who currently live in the present where the technology to correct vision problems abound. However, having poor vision back then was a big problem for those who were struggling to see in the dark, when candles and torches were the only sources of light.


Life before Eyeglasses

For those who have had laser eye surgery in Orange County CA, it must be difficult to even imagine a time when eyeglasses were not around. This may seem inconceivable now, but was the actual reality for people who lived before the mid-1200s. In fact, did you know that the use of eyeglasses was only documented in the year 1250?

Prior to eyeglasses, historical evidence suggests that the ancient Chinese and Arabs were believed to have used contraptions such as clear quartz and other polished concave surfaces to enlarge images, the same way that magnifying glasses do so today. While it did help the person to see more clearly, the images ended up twisted or warped because it was not a perfect lens to see through.

Magnifying Lenses: The Predecessor of Eyeglasses

It was only in the mid-1200s that lenses that magnified but did not distort image became available. This was brought about by the improved skills of craftspeople from Venice, Italy in grinding and polishing lenses made from clear quartz. Unfortunately, these much improved magnifying glasses were used almost exclusively by scientists because it was considered expensive.

Eventually, all these innovations and development lead to the discovery of the eyeglasses. Contact lenses soon followed as well as a multitude of eye surgeries to further better poor vision. In fact, today, so many people have benefited from LASIK, an eye procedure that helps get back over 90% of a person’s vision, so much so that their reliance on crutches like eyeglasses and contact lenses have been greatly reduced – with some not even needing them at all.

If you were living with vision problems back then, you would have a difficult time dealing with everyday tasks. Fortunately, solutions such as eyeglasses and laser eye surgery give you the chance to correct these problems and see the world clearly.


What Did Nearsighted Humans Do Before Glasses?

What did people with terrible vision do before the invention of glasses?