When it comes to vision correction, eyeglasses remain a popular choice among people with refractive errors like myopia and other eyesight-related problems. It’s good to have a pair in handy in every situation, but have you ever wondered how people with such vision impairments were about to see before their invention? In today’s article, our esteemed optometrist from the Institute for Control of Eye Myopia in Children takes a look back at a time when these devices are yet to catch on.
A Late Development
It wasn’t until the 15th century when the first lenses for people with myopia (nearsightedness) were invented in Europe. Before this, not much is known about how they dealt with the condition, even after it was first observed around 350 B.C. by famed Greek thinker Aristotle. To many historians, the invention of such lenses was a “late development” within the history of the invention of spectacles.
Reading glasses, however, were evident back in 13th-century Europe. They came in the form of handheld convex lenses and were used to help those with presbyopia or farsightedness resulting from the loss of the eyes’ elasticity. Such technology, however, didn’t catch on for people with myopia until after another 200 years.
Myopia: Past and Present
For every eye doctor, myopia is seen as a modern condition. Recent decades saw a sharp rise in the number of people with this condition, with researchers projecting that half of the world will have it by 2050. Doctors are yet to determine the causes behind this trend, though they are looking at genetics, an increase in studying and screen time and a decrease in outdoor activities to be potential factors.
That being said, there’s a possibility that myopia didn’t affect as many people in the past as it does today. Historians posit that people with this condition may have gotten by with lifestyle adaptations. The Middle Ages, in fact, considered them as valuable artisans, particularly those tasked to make manuscripts and paint Bibles which required making tiny but accurate brushstrokes. The late creation of eyeglasses to correct myopia suggests that treatment wasn’t regarded as a priority.
Times change, however, and thanks to various technological interventions, people with myopia and other refractive errors can see the world. At the Institute for Control of Eye Myopia in Children, we provide information on the scientifically proven myopia control methods for concerned parents.
If you are interested in managing your vision or the vision of a loved one with nearsightedness and concerned about vision changes, contact a local eye doctor or myopia control specialist and schedule a comprehensive eye exam.