Eye Care Throughout the Ages
Everything and everyone has a history. It shows where they’ve come from and what changes they’ve made along the way. The practice of eye care is no different from any other aspect of care that humanity practices. Amusingly, it can sometimes be difficult to see where precisely our ideas of eye care come from thanks to its modern existence dwarfing all historical examples. OROGOLD isn’t going to make any claims that we’ve solved the where and the when eye care first started to rise, but we have put together an overview of the eye care through the ages. It should give you a few interesting bits of trivia to share the next time glasses come up as a topic of discussion. That or you’ll have a far greater appreciation of how finely tuned the entire affair has become over the centuries.
The Distant Past
No one is entirely certain where optometry first arose, but many civilizations like to lay claim to it. Unsurprisingly, Europe and China each like to try to lay claim to being the first, but what amounts to “the first” varies and is often clouded by time and cultural pride. What we do know is that people were, at least, using cut translucent materials, often minerals or gems, for fashion or protection even in pre-history. These are by no means anything approaching modern eye care, but the ideas were there. Much of this knowledge comes from depictions of the practices and distant descriptions we find recorded in different sources. Some believe that multiple civilizations would end up arriving at the idea of eyeglasses and later corrective lenses independently of one another. Lenses are only one facet of eye care though. It would take humanity far longer to work towards an understanding of the complexities of the eye itself that would provide the basis for modern eye care have a look here.
A Clearer Picture
Most people agree that the beginning of modern eye care originated somewhere towards the end of the 13th century. It is around this time that early corrective lenses began to be utilized by those who could afford them or otherwise had access to them. They were primitive at best due to the fact that modern corrective lenses, made of special materials and formulated to specific standards, were still centuries aware. Artisans of the time were able to make lenses capable of correct the vision of those suffering from being far-sighted or that had difficulty seeing fine print. As expected, these were predominantly intended for use by those whose eyesight had been diminished by age. This was enough to start process of building towards modern eye care. Over the ensuing centuries, many people would contribute to eye care as they grew into an understanding of the eye and tweaked lenses to figure out how to solve other vision related problems. It would take them centuries, but the foundation for modern eye care kept being laid.
The Modern Era
There are plenty of minor and major stepstones to the modern era that we could discuss. The invention of bifocals, often credited to Benjamin Franklin, is worth its own discussion given it opened up still wider areas in eye care, but the truth is that modern eye care is just that…modern. Medieval treatises on the eyes and the use of corrective lenses provided the groundwork for optometry, but modern optometrists are the ones who kept refining older knowledge to get a clear idea of what to do. Optical surgery to deal with cataracts and other imperfections were truly honed in the last century at the latest. People continue to improve upon this with laser surgery and eye treatments that provide non-invasive ways to correct common eye problems. We even have a clear understanding that not all vision problems are directly related to the eye itself. There are likely still further discoveries to be made in eye care, but for the time being they are likely to remain refinements upon what we know.
Eye care and fashion each has a long history. They’re often interconnected, but still serve to fill their own places in history. The people who used quartz lenses would marvel at the refinement and beauty the modern eyewear represents. OROGOLD hopes this quick overview gives you an idea of how long eye care has been with humanity. Much like skin care, humans haven’t always been highly refined in their approach to eye care, but time and study ensures we continue to build upon the successes and failures of the past.