History of Glasses

The first eyeglasses were made in Italy at about 1286 as described in text from the time. By 1301, there were guild regulations in Venice governing the sale of eyeglasses.

The earliest mentions of eyeglasses in China occur in the 15th century and those Chinese sources state that eyeglasses were imported.

The earliest known painting that shows the use of eyeglasses is Tommaso da Modena’s 1352 portrait of the cardinal Hugh de Provence reading.

Early spectacles had convex lenses that could correct both farsightedness (hyperopia), and presbyopia, which is the inability to focus on near objects, that commonly develops as a symptom of aging. In 1604 Johannes Kepler published the first correct explanation as to why and how convex and concave lenses could correct presbyopia and short-sightedness (myopia).

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