Park Ophthalmology Shares the History of Eyeglasses

park 06-22-15 10042661fdp photostockFor anyone who has trouble seeing and needs vision correction, it’s almost impossible to imagine life without eyeglasses or contact lenses. Across the Triangle, Raleigh, and Durham, Dr. Beth R. Friedland and Park Ophthalmology offer patients the latest innovations in eye health and vision correction. Of course, we all know that even in 2015, the classic way to see more clearly is through the use of prescription glasses. And it is interesting to note that eyeglasses have a long history, going back 800 years to the late 1200’s in Italy. Today in California, the Museum of Vision in San Francisco has compiled an extensive collection of information on the history of Ophthalmology. It “sees” thousands of visitors a year so let’s “look” at some interesting innovations.

Park Ophthalmology shares six museum facts about the history of eyeglasses:

  • Invention: As earlier stated, the first known eyeglasses were crafted in Italy. Used mostly by scholars and monks, these spectacles were either balanced on the nose or held up to the eyes, as they were made without any temple pieces.
  • Side pieces: In the 1700s, eyeglasses took great leaps forward, the first of which was the addition of side or temple pieces that fit over the ears. No longer did they have to be balanced or held in place.
  • Bifocals: The second key invention in the 1700s was the development of bifocals by Benjamin Franklin. Today, patients are more likely to opt for progressive lenses, which remove the characteristic bifocal line. Progressive lenses were first developed in 1959 and have grown in popularity since then.
  • Sunglasses: Although not always used for vision correction, sunglasses play an important part in protecting eyes from harsh glare and sun damage. They first became culturally popular in the 1930’s, but World War II gave sunglasses an additional boost in popularity as military pilots discovered the benefits of lenses that absorbed ultraviolet and infrared light.
  • Fashion statement: During the latter half of the 20th century and on into the 21st, eyeglasses have become fashion statements. Prescription sunglasses allow people to carry their fashion look into any activity.


Whether you need an updated look, or new prescription for eyewear, Dr. Friedland and the staff at Park Ophthalmology can merge vision-correcting lenses with the latest fashion frames. It is important to add prescription sunglasses to protect the eyes from sun damage.

Call the offices of Beth R. Friedland M.D., the Triangle’s Eye Specialist, to set up an exam time. In the Triangle, clarity now offers many choices with the experts at Park Ophthalmology.


Park Ophthalmology welcomes patients from all areas of the Triangle and offers a wide variety of specialized services including surgery for diseases of the eye, vision examinations, eye safety information, sports medicine protective eyewear and counseling, contact lenses and evaluation, and all types of ocular diagnosis and treatment. Many types of surgery are available, including cataract and laser surgery. We are here for you and your eye and overall health. Give us a call today!

This article about the vision care is brought to you by the professional team at Park Ophthalmology located in the Triangle Region of North Carolina.

The information contained in this blog article is intended solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be offered as medical advice.


Park Ophthalmology

5306 NC Highway 55, Suite 102 (adjacent to the RTP/ Research Triangle Park)

Durham, NC 27713

Office: 919 544 5375

Fax: 919 544 5829


Park Ophthalmology North

6512 Six Forks Road, Suite 105

Raleigh, NC 27615

919 846 6915

Office Manager Jenny Whitman, e-mail:

Follow us

Like us:

Photo: photostock,