03/13/2017 12:05 EDT | Updated 03/13/2017 12:05 EDT

Nerds Unite! The Incredible Evolution Of Glasses Technology

Glasses on laptop with pen, close up
peshkov via Getty Images
Glasses on laptop with pen, close up

The struggle is real for people who wear glasses. Our spectacles often get fogged up in the winter, working out with them is always a difficult task and they somehow always go missing. But we often forget about the benefits they afford us. They open our eyes to a whole new world and offer us the opportunity to see things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. In partnership with Varilux® Progressive Lenses, we take a look at the progression of eyewear, from its monocle roots to our current progressive state.

1800s monocle

Humble Beginnings

The first illustrations of someone wearing spectacles come from 14th century. In these drawings, monks wore monocles -- a visual aid that consisted of a single corrective lens typically suspended by a cord and worn in the eye’s orbit. While glasses styles and lens technologies had continued to develop in the centuries that followed, it wasn’t until the 1760s that the next revolution came onto scene: bifocals or a type of lens that allowed for two separate areas of vision correction. We the saw frame styles evolve from cat eyes to larger plastic frames (really large), but the lenses themselves had a slower evolution curve. That was true until the 1950s when the progressive lens came onto the scene.

An Introduction To Progressive Lenses

The first progressive lenses, Varilux, debuted in 1959. These multifocal lenses offer all the benefits of a bifocal lens, but naturally transitions from one distance to another. The result is consistently clear and focused vision. However, some have noted some shortcomings of these lenses. These new lenses were a real technological gem but were far from perfect. Some complained about a visible multifocal line, the large size of the lens and sometimes complain about the distortion and dizziness that sometimes can occur. But as time went on, brands like Varilux had set themselves apart from others in the market by continually innovating and introducing new technologies.

mature man glasses

The Latest Technologies

All of these shortcomings are addressed with Varilux’s latest advancements. The entrance of NanoptixTM technology, for example, reduces the “swim effect” up to 90 per cent, which means that you won't feel dizzy when moving your head or walking down stairs. Another interesting development is 4D technologyTM, which allows patients to experience faster visual reaction time.

Those who wear glasses know about the halos of light that we see on the road at night. W.A.V.E. 2.0 technology allows for High Resolution VisionTM for crisp, precise, high-contrast images even in dim light situations so that the glare you see won’t be an issue any longer.

Finally, the Smart Blue FilterTM, an innovation integrated into a clear lens, protects against harmful blue light that is emitted from the sun, LED lights, computers, tablets and smartphones. We’re constantly exposed and so the Smart Blue Filter blocks the most harmful wavelength in the visible light spectrum that can cause age-related macular degeneration.

It’s evident how much eyeglasses have evolved over time. Once a simple tool to see better, glasses are now a full-blown industry that caters to everyone’s needs. At your next appointment, consider asking your eye care professional for more information on Varilux® progressive lenses.