Reading glasses lenses are magnification tools held in rims that people
wear in front of eyes for purposes of correcting eye vision. Historians
trace the origin of reading glasses to the first century AD. Seneca the
Younger wrote the oldest document explaining about the use of
magnification glasses. He was a private teacher of Rome’s Emperor
Nero. However, the initial magnification glasses were glass jars filled
with water. The first typical glass lens were made around 1286 in Italy
by an unknown inventor. The inventor was not willing to share the
invention with others. However, Giordano da Pisa, a Dominican friar,
made glasses and shared them with other people gladly. In the modern
society, reading glasses lens have evolved in various ways, ranging from
design, purpose, structure, relevance, shape, and color among other
things. For instance, contact lenses that are placed directly on the eye
have replaced the uncomfortable rimmed glasses lens. This essay will
evaluate the development of reading glasses lens into contact glasses
lens over time.
Reading glasses lenses innovation theory
According to Paul Trott, contact lenses are gradually replacing the
traditional reading glasses lens. In his diffusion theory, Trott claims
that many people are wearing soft lens because their role models and
celebrities are wearing them too. Presently, 2% of the people across of
the globe prefer wearing soft lens to traditional glasses lenses, either
for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons because their role models do wear
them (Sundbo, 1998, p. 17). In addition, Trott proposes the industrial
economic growth theory as another contributor of the reading glasses
lenses innovation. This theory suggests that when developers are sure
that they will benefit from their inventions, they will be motivated to
invest more energy in the development of new and trendy technology.
According to the evolutionary theory of innovation, reading glasses
lenses have evolved because people’s taste and preferences change over
time. For instance, designers made glasses lenses in 1995 smaller and
trendier than the previous large-sized glasses lenses. By 2000, sports
celebrities started wearing the soft lenses for therapeutic purposes.
However, their fans started wearing the lens for aesthetic purposes
(Sundbo, 1998, p. 27). Lastly, the international trade theory asserts
that economic integration enhances innovation by creating a large market
for a product. The demand for soft lenses is high across the globe
thus, developers are assured of high returns for their products.
Factors contributing to the innovation of reading glasses lenses
The development of smaller and more comfortable glasses as well as,
contact lenses was inspired by the needs of the society to get light and
convenient lenses. For example, sports personalities required small
lenses that they could conveniently wear when playing in order to
improve the eyesight of players. Several popular players’ performance
has increased significantly after getting fixed with contact lenses
(Sundbo, 1998, p. 39).
Moreover, the evolutionary theory states that people’s tastes and
fashion desire change gradually over time. Since year 2000, small
glasses lenses have become more popular. As the small glasses lenses
gain popularity, people are quickly adopting the newest soft lenses
technology. The new reading glasses lenses are also critical because
they come with high UV light protection. People working in direct
sunlight (Sundbo, 1998, p. 41). Furthermore, people driving at night
and pilots flying planes in bright during the day required advanced
lenses for protecting their eyes against glares.
As the technology evolves, reading glasses lenses have evolved to
feature glasses lens that designed for other purposes such as improving
personal image, safety from harmful rays, and protection against
physical debris. The original reading glasses were primitive lenses that
often contained glass jars filled with water. Over time, scientists
developed thin glass lens that users could hold in front of the eyes
(Beresford, 1996, p. 7). Edward Scarlett, a British Scientist, developed
the modern spectacles made with frames that pass over the temple and to
the back of the ear lobe to get support (Beresford, 1996, p. 9).
According to Beresford (1996, p. 14), all glasses lenses were reading
tools given to people with eyesight problems. However, the evolving
technology has helped scientists in designing assorted lenses that serve
distinct purposes. For instance, the corrective lenses help in improving
refractive errors. The glass bends light coming into the eye thereby,
correcting issues such as astigmatism, nearsightedness and
farsightedness. Opticians mainly prescribe the corrective glasses. They
use lensmeter to determine appropriate lenses for the patients.
Corrective glasses are able to improve the quality of life of the
wearer’s eyesight significantly (Beresford, 1996, p. 18). In addition,
they help in reducing health issues that result from eye problems such
as squinting and headaches.
The single vision reading glasses correct eyesight problems such as long
sightedness or shortsightedness. In case the glasses are designed for
correcting one issue, say long sightedness, an individual should
compensate for clear focusing of close objects. The modern lenses
manufacturers are overcoming this problem by either using multifocal
lens or integrating a pair of the lens in one frame so that the wearer
can choose lens type that will serve him/her best (Beresford, 1996, p.
Beresford (1996, p. 44) asserts that over-the-counter reading glasses
lenses are readily manufactured spectacles. They help in providing clear
vision to people suffering from hyperopia and presbyopia. The lenses are
mainly available in retail outlets such as clothing retailers, grocery
stores, pharmacies, and bookshops. Since they are made without details
of wearer’s prescription distance, their strength ranges between +0.75
and +3.50 (Beresford, 1996, p. 24). While these lenses may sometimes
help in correcting vision, they are not very effective in solving vision
issues. This is because it is challenging to acquire lenses that fit the
eyesight distance perfectly.
Beresford (1996, p. 51) claims that advanced technology in reading
glasses manufacturing process has enabled ophthalmic experts to develop
unique reading glasses that are able to serve diverse functions. For
instance, the bifocal glasses lens contains two distinct lenses. The
lower section is designed for viewing objects at close distance. On the
other hand, the upper section contains lens that help an individual to
focus on objects that are far away.
Similarly, ophthalmic professionals have designed trifocal reading
glasses lens. These spectacles are similar to the bifocal, but they
contain a third distinct layer at the bottom. The function of the middle
section is for helping the wearer to focus on intermediate distance
effectively (Beresford, 1996, p. 59). The intermediate distance includes
arms-length distance such as the distance maintained when an individual
is using a computer.
The latest reading glasses such as progressive reading lens feature
advanced technology that allow users to adjust focus automatically. A
farsighted person can gradually focus on close and intermediate located
objects without require extra assistance. These lenses have led to the
development of the term “no-line bifocal (Beresford,1996, p. 63).”
Lastly, the innovation of the reading glasses has resulted in the
development of variable focus lenses. These glasses are designed such
that an individual can focus on objects at any distance conveniently.
The key significance of the invention of variable lenses that can help
people to focus on objects at any distance have improved convenience of
eyesight correction since an individual will not require having several
pairs of lenses for use in various functions (Beresford, 1996, p. 77).
Traditionally, people suffering from conditions such as presbyopia that
limits flexibility of the eye, required having different lenses for
focusing on intermediate, close and far located objects.
Diversification of reading glasses lens purposes
About a century ago, people wore spectacles for correcting eyesight
issues. However, this purpose has presently changed significantly. One
of these changes includes development of shatter-resistant lenses for
protecting eyes from mobile debris. These lenses are made from tough
plastics. People working in industries such as construction and chemical
manufacturing wear these glasses in order to prevent dangerous foreign
material from falling on the eyes. Other protective lens includes the
welding glasses that protect welders from the bright light flash
(Beresford, 1996, p. 14). Similarly, swimmers and deep-sea divers wear
protective lenses that help them to see when beneath water. The
invention of safety glasses has accelerated development of technology
Ophthalmologists have also developed sunglasses lens that help in
protecting the eyes from harmful ultra violet rays that are come from
the natural sunshine. Photochromic lenses are sensitive to light rays
such that they darken when light falls on them. Sunglasses are
beneficial to humans because they have significantly reduced eye
infections that result when the eyes are exposed to bright light. In
some cases, people wear sunglasses for cosmetic reasons. For example,
people with bad looking, swollen, or injuries around the eyes often wear
sunglasses to hide the injuries around their eyes. On the other hand,
blind people do wear dark sunglasses for concealing their eyes too.
According to sociologists, it is possible to read internal thoughts and
feeling of a person by looking at their eyes (Beresford, 1996, p. 119).
This makes it critical for people participating in games such as
gambling to wear dark shades in order to prevent their assailants from
collecting game hints from the appearance of their eyes.
The drawbacks of reading glasses lenses
The framed reading glasses are inconvenient since they can easily fall
off the face of the wearer. In addition, they collect snow and rain
moisture, thereby reducing visibility of the wearer. In some cases, the
ophthalmologists have attributed wearing of glasses to early creasing
and development of swollen rings around the eyes. This implies that
traditional spectacles are unsuitable for outdoor activities such as
football sports because they can easily get shattered (Beresford, 1996,
p. 134). Fortunately, researchers have developed a new version of lenses
called contact lenses. This new version of eye lenses are as effective
as the traditional spectacles, but they are placed directly on the top
of the eye. This makes them suitable for people for sports enthusiasts.
Ophthalmologists claim that contact lenses are able to offer better
peripheral vision than the traditional glasses. Individuals may choose
to wear the contact lens for a wide variety of reasons ranging from
cosmetics to aesthetics. The latest versions of the contact lens can
replace the traditional reading glasses lenses. This implies that some
prescription versions help in correcting eye problems such as
farsightedness and shortsightedness (Beresford, 1996, p. 147). In some
exceptional cases, people seeking to change the color of their eyes
often have these lenses placed on their eye surfaces.
Contact lenses technology has become highly popular because they give
better peripheral vision as well as, do not collect sweat and other
forms of moisture that can create discomfort on an individual’s eyes.
People wearing these glasses can conveniently wear them with traditional
spectacles. People fitted with these lenses can wear goggles and
sunglasses among other regular wear without worrying about their
compatibility. Moreover, opticians claim that contacts lenses are more
effective for correction of some challenging eye conditions, such as
aniseikonia and keratoconus, than a traditional reading glasses lenses
(Beresford, 1996, p. 170).
Contact lenses type
Corrective contact lenses helps in improvising eyesight vision of an
individual. The lenses are mainly used in fixing refractive errors.
Recently, ophthalmologists have been conducting an investigation to
establish whether these lenses can help in correcting hyperopia and
myopic conditions. Presently, opticians have invented contact lenses
that can function in a similar war to progressive and bifocal lenses as
they have multifocal points (Beresford, 1996, p. 141). According to a
2004 research on contact lenses usage worldwide, analysts reported that
2% (125 million) individuals were using contact lenses. This number
included people who were using contact lenses for both cosmetic and
therapeutic reasons. In another 2010 study, researchers claimed that the
average market value for contact lenses worldwide was 6.1 billion.
Researchers also predict that the market for contact lens will reach US
$11.7 billion by 2015 (Beresford, 1996, p. 155).
Functions of contact lenses
These lenses are effective in corrective color-blindness. Although they
cannot completely restore visibility, they can help to improve
colorblindness condition. In the United States, the FDA has endorsed the
ChromaGen contact lenses for use in treating dyslexics. Moreover, these
celebrities use contact lenses to change the appearance of their eyes
(Beresford, 1996, p. 166). According to Paul Trott’s theory of
diffusion, people will start imitating their icons, thereby, leading to
widespread use of contact lenses internationally. In therapeutic fields,
people with injured cornea can wear soft lenses in order to reduce
irritation of the eye surface when one is blinking.
Soft lenses can cause side effects such as complications on the
conjunctiva, eyelid and other sections of the cornea. In addition, poor
care of these lenses may lead to the accumulation of fungi, bacteria,
and Acanthamoeba among other microorganisms (Beresford, 1996, p. 188).
However, these complications arise in case patients fail to use the
contact glasses in as prescribed by an optician.
Current research
Human vision experts are presently focusing on effective methods for
addressing complications that may result from wearing contact lenses,
one of the common complications include microbial keratitis. Moreover,
the researchers are investigating safe methods in which patients should
use contact lenses safely. For instance, scientists have developed soft
lenses laced with silver in order to help in eradicating silver. Lastly,
researchers are investigating whether they can use the soft lenses in
drug administration. For instance, opticians can lace the contact lenses
with anesthesia in order to suppress pain after an eye surgical
procedure (Beresford, 1996, p. 191).
BERESFORD, S. M. (1996). Improve your vision without glasses or contact
lenses: the AVI program. New York, Simon & Schuster.
SUNDBO, J. (1998). The theory of innovation: entrepreneurs, technology
and strategy. Cheltenham [u.a.], Elgar.