The Importance of Glasses
Worldwide, refractive (focusing) errors are the greatest cause of blindness and visual disability. As a result, the importance of correction with spectacle lenses cannot be overstated.
The first reported crude spectacles were made in 1284 in Italy but were limited to correcting hyperopia (farsightedness) and presbyopia (the inability to see close-up). Invention of the Gutenberg press in 1440, increased the demand for spectacles as the number of the number of readers of print increased dramatically.
It was not until the 1400s that myopia (shortsightedness) could be corrected with a different lens design. It took until 1825 before lenses were designed by George Airy to correct astigmatism. Well-known inventor Benjamin Franklin developed bifocal lenses in 1784.