Glasses Are Not A Fashion Accessory!

Like many things that were born out of necessity, glasses have become known as an ‘accessory’ – regurgitated by the fashion industry in thousands of styles and colours. But it is important to remember that glasses are so much more than a simple fashion accessory. For centuries, they have been an important type of vision correction equipment.

In fact, when glasses or ‘spectacles’ were first introduced to the market, they were described as ‘medical appliances’. A far cry from the unlimited number of styles, shapes, and sizes that we see today, the original glasses were simply made for the sole purpose of improving vision.

For those who wore glasses in these early days, appearances were not a major consideration. Instead, this now simply-perceived technology was an innovation that helped to improve long-sightedness, short-sightedness, and astigmatism.

Early Glasses Designs

The earliest wearable glasses appeared in Italy as early as the 13th century. These early models used primitive glass blown lenses to magnify vision and were usually designed to perch on the nose or be held to the face. Over the next few centuries, however, eyeglasses were to become more ornate.

‘Scissor spectacles’ became popular throughout the world in the 18th and 19th centuries; famous sporters of these scissor-like lenses included George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, and King Louis XVI of France. While these bits of kit allowed some to be discrete about their vision impairments in public, others opted for ornate designs to showcase their wealth.

Soon after, ‘Lorgnettes’ – pairs of lenses attached to a stick – took the world by storm. In the 1800s, it was thought that only ‘old people’ wore glasses, so, once again, people would only want the help of lenses when absolutely necessary. In the name of discretion, many lorgnettes were designed to resemble other everyday objects, such as fans and mechanical pencils.

Harold Lloyd tortoiseshell spectacles with large, round lenses laser surgery at London Vision Clinic
Henry Lloyd in Henry Lloyd round tortoiseshell glasses

Glasses as a fashion statement

The turn of the 20th century saw a complete change in attitude towards glasses. Celebrity style and the availability of cheaper materials – particularly plastic – were beginning to influence fashion trends across the wider population. Very soon, the production of eyeglasses became a whole industry in itself.

Soon enough, glasses were a common, and even sought after, fashion accessory.

Different styles of glasses have now become synonymous with different celebrities throughout the decades – one example being the now-famous Harold Lloyd glasses. His films and photos started a fashion craze for the style of glasses which are still popular to this day.

The Rise of Laser Eye Surgery

The gradual social acceptance of glasses into mainstream fashion has undoubtedly offered some relief to those living with refractory errors. Nowadays, however, innovative advances in refractive surgery may soon render glasses a thing of the past.

While glasses are still common today, Laser Eye Surgery is increasingly opening up the potential to live free of glasses and contact lenses.

Here at London Vision Clinic, 96% of our patients receive ReLEx SMILE or LASIK surgery. LASIK is the most common form of laser surgery with over 90% of patients eligible for the procedure. ReLEx SMILE—pioneered here at the London Vision Clinic—is a new, minimally-invasive procedure which is used to treat patients who are short-sighted, have high prescriptions, or suffer from dry eyes, contact lens intolerance, and thin corneas.

To find out if Laser Eye Surgery is right for you, book a consultation with one of our vision specialists. We can walk you through the treatment and determine which procedure is right for you.

If you would like to find more information on our vision correction options, visit our treatments page.