How Eyeglasses Have Evolved Over Time

Lethbridge EyeGlasses

Forget about your contact lenses. Make a fashion statement with our latest collection of high-quality eyeglasses.


Throughout the centuries, scientists, inventors and designers have looked for ways to help improve vision through the use of corrective eyeglasses.

Today, eyewear design is no longer primarily focused on function, but on fashion too, and eyeglasses have become some of the most coveted, statement-making accessories.

Whatever your taste and personality, our Lethbridge eye clinic has the frames for you; so come and explore our latest collection today!


The History of Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses are key to keeping our patients’ vision comfortable and healthy. Here is a look at how they have evolved over the last century:

1286 - First Eyeglasses

History indicates that it was Friar Allesandro Della Spina of Pisa, Italy who was the first to make and share corrective eyeglasses.

1400-1600 - Handheld Spectacles

During the 15th-16th centuries, eyeglasses were normally hand-held. Eventually, they evolved into more comfortable arched bridge known as ‘bow specs’

1677-1727 - Temple Spectacles

London optician, Edward Scarlett, perfected the ‘temple spectacles’ - eyeglasses that wrapped around the temples and solved the critical problem of stability.

1760 - Bifocals

Split lenses, or bifocals, were invented by Benjamin Franklin (who suffered from myopia and presbyopia)

1913-1945 - Modern Day Sunglasses

In 1913, Sir William Crookes created a lens capable of absorbing both UV and infrared light. Further, advances in sunglass eyewear were developed to meet the needs of military personnel in WW II.

1940-1950 - Fashion Frames

Advances in the manufacturing of plastics made a large variety of eyeglasses available in many colors. Women wore ‘cat-eyes’ and men tended to sport gold wire frames.

1950 - Present

Eyeglasses are  now considered a true fashion statement and focus on both practicality and aesthetics.


Eyeglasses vs Contact Lenses

Both eyeglasses and contact lenses offer a variety of pros and cons when it comes to vision correction. While the choice mostly comes down to personal preference, there are a few factors you should discuss with your optometrist before making a choice.

These include:

  • Age
  • Lifestyle
  • Occupation
  • Cost
  • Severity and type of refractive error




Less risk of infection or eye irritation.

They can distort your peripheral vision

Less expensive in the long-run and require less maintenance than contact lenses.

In some types of work (sports, firefighting), eyeglasses may be unacceptable

Can protect your eyes from external elements such as wind, dust and debris.

Some patients find eyeglasses inconvenient or uncomfortable (e.g. they tend to fog up in humid or cold weather) unlike contact lenses.

Can make a bold fashion statement.

Eyeglasses can be broken or lost


Contact Lenses



Contact lenses provide clearer vision and a wider field of view than eyeglasses.

Contact lenses can increase the severity of dry eye syndrome.

Better option for patients who are highly active or engaged in sports.

Contact lenses require proper lens care and cleaning every day to avoid potentially serious eye infections.

Contact lenses are affected by weather conditions and won’t fog up like eyeglasses.

Some patients may have trouble inserting and removing the contact lens. (A contact lens fitting can help resolve this)

In some ways, they tend to be more convenient and easier to wear than eyeglasses (e.g they will never clash with what you are wearing.)

Contact lenses tend to be a more expensive option than eyeglasses.


Learn More

To learn more about our vision correction services or to view our extensive collection of eyeglasses, contact our Calgary eye clinic today at 403-327-4166 or book an appointment today.

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