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The Evolution of Modern Eyeglasses

According to historical records, the first image magnification technology was developed between the years 1000 and 1250. The earliest historical reference to magnification dates back to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in the 5th century BC, which depict "simple glass meniscal lenses". The earliest written record of magnification dates back to the 1st century AD.

Corrective lenses were said to be used by Abbas Ibn Firnas in the 9th century, who had devised a way to produce very clear glass. These online glasses could be shaped and polished into round rocks used for viewing and were known as reading stones. The earliest evidence of "a magnifying device, a convex lens forming a magnified image," dates back to the Book of Optics published by Alhazen in 1021.

Englishman Robert Grosseteste's treatise De iride ("On the Rainbow"), written between 1220 and 1235, mentions using optics to "read the smallest letters at incredible distances". A few years later, Roger Bacon is also known to have written on the magnifying properties of lenses in 1262.

It's been reported that Seneca - the Roman statesman, dramatist, and philosopher (4 BC-65 AD) - used a glass globe filled with water as a magnifier to read "all the books of Rome."  Around the year 1000, glass blowers in Italy are credited with producing reading stones made of solid glass.  These devices were similar to hand-held magnifying lenses of today.

Reportedly, spectacles were in use in China by the rich and elderly at the time of Marco Polo's arrival in 1270 or 1271, although the Chinese credit their invention to Arabia in the 11th century. With the long history of the glasses frames in the past, we can wear modern eyeglasses with great convenience.

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