Impact of Eyeglasses
During the 15th – 16th century, there was an exponential increase in demand for spectacles due to availability of printed materials, i.e. books and newspapers. From that era, it was evident that people treated wearing eyeglasses as a status symbol. This was because the early eyeglasses were possessed by churchmen, wealthy scholars, artisans, and high-class individuals of the medieval world. Hence, people in Spain, Italy and China regarded eyeglasses as a sign of superior intelligence and nobility, a symbol of wisdom and learning.
The start of eyeglasses being a fashion statement was in 1880 when monocles were popular. Aristrocrats commonly used monocles as status symbol and fashion statement.
From the 20th century onwards, eyeglasses have shifted from a “want” into a “need” for those whose vision needed correction as the production cheapens. People started to view eyeglasses as a medical necessity. According to the Vision Council of America, approximately 64% of adults wear eyeglasses. In addition, eyeglasses as a fashion statement started to gain popularity. A sizeable number of people wore eyeglass frame for fashion purpose. The innovation of sunglasses also contributed to the increase in popularity.
There were many studies conducted with regards to the psychology of wearing eyeglasses. Individuals who are wearing glasses tend to be seen as more intelligent (e.g., Brown, Henriquez, & Groscup, 2008; Hellström & Tekle, 1994), but less attractive (Hasart & Hutchinson, 1993; Lundberg & Sheehan, 1994). One example of how wearing glasses affects a person’s impression is shown in the paragraph below:
"Not only do these stereotypes influence our everyday evaluation, they also influence our evaluations of individuals when this evaluation is especially important, as in court. From research on the effect of attractiveness on juror decisions we know that defendant attractiveness reduces the harshness of the sentence (Efran, 1974; Leventhal & Krate, 1977; Smith & Hed, 1979, but see also Sigall & Ostrove, 1975, for other evidence). In addition, people that appear intelligent receive fewer guilty verdicts (Brown et al., 2008, also published in an adapted version in The Jury Expert, 23, pp. 1-12). Because wearing glasses decreases apparent attractiveness and increases apparent intelligence, glasses may be a mixed blessing in court."
Despite more of the population having access to eyeglasses, there are still social issues whereby people from the developing countries do not have access to eyeglasses. According to VisionSpring, there are approximately 700 million people who need but don’t own eyeglasses. In a study on the impact of eyeglasses on the academic performance of primary school students in rural China, a very low percentage of students who needed glasses actually owned a pair of glasses. The study also found out that after about 8 months of wearing glasses, children’s test scores improved by 0.16 to 0.22 standard deviations, which is equivalent to 0.33 to 0.50 years of additional education.
The invention of eyeglasses has increased productivity over the ages. In the past, active, productive members of society had to stop working, writing, reading and using their hands for skillful tasks at a relatively young age. With eyeglasses, these members were able to continue their work.
In the modern age, studies had showed that there is a direct correlation between proper vision correction and productivity. This relationship particularly is evident with complex and/or repetitive computer tasks such as data entry. Computer-related tasks took much longer when the subjects wore glasses with less than the optimum correction. There was reduction in productivity even among computer users who were unaware they had vision problems. Computer users with small refractive errors may not notice any vision discomfort. But without proper vision correction, their performance on a specific task can suffer significantly — by as much as 20 percent.
"Our data strongly suggest that improving the visual status of workers using computers results in greater productivity in the workplace, as well as improved visual comfort,"
Kent Daum, OD, PhD, the study's chief investigator.
In 2007 VisionSpring conducted a vigorous impact assessment in an effort to quantify the dramatic impact on the lives of the BoP consumer we were witnessing with every sale. The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, led a team in Andhra Pradesh, India to conduct market testing of 450 individuals in need of reading glasses. The study established that a pair of VisionSpring eyeglasses increases customer productivity by 35%. Further analysis of the data by the VisionSpring team concluded that reading glasses have the potential to increase monthly income by 20%. Based on conservative estimates for the average daily income of our customers, VisionSpring calculates the annual increase in earning potential for each pair of glasses sold and multiplies that by the two-year lifespan of a pair of glasses to determine the economic impact we have created in the developing world.
The economic impact of this invention was not identified in the 17th-20th Century, only being measured in recent time. However, from the recent studies, it still shows that the use of eyewear has had good economic impact relating to the productivity of the worker because they had the eyewear helping them to see better thus working better.
Another economic impact is the need and the invention of eyewear that has led to the dominance of a company in the eyewear industry.
“[Del Vecchio] understood that glasses were so critical for vision. But on the other side, they were part of our personality; they were part of us," Luxottica's CEO Andrea Guerra tells "CBS 60 Minutes" in an interview that aired 7 Oct 2012.
"[Del Vecchio] understood that glasses were so critical for vision. But on the other side, they were part of our personality; they were part of us," Luxottica's CEO Andrea Guerra tells "CBS 60 Minutes"
Luxottica's CEO Andrea Guerra
This led to Del Vecchio, in his mid-20s, moved to Agordo, the eyewear capital of Italy, and started his own glasses company. The company listed in New York in 1990, and in Milan in December 2000, joining the MIB-30 (now FTSE MIB) index in September 2003. The listing raised money for the company and allowed it to use its shares to acquire other brands, starting with Italian brand Vogue Eyewear in 1990, Persol and US Shoe Corporation (LensCrafters) in 1995, Ray-Ban in 1999 and Sunglass Hut, Inc. in 2001. Luxottica later increased its presence in the retail sector by acquiring Sydney-based OPSM in 2003, Pearle Vision and Cole National in 2004. The company also acquired Oakley in a US$2.1 billion deal in November 2007, and Erroca for €20 million in August 2011.
In March 2014, it was announced that Luxottica would partner with Google on the development of Google Glass and its integration into Luxottica's eyewear.
Sunglasses; Ballistics eyewear; Google glasses; 3D glasses; Makeup glasses; Computer glasses; EnChroma; Smart glasses for the blind; VR glasses.
These are some technologies that have evolved from the invention of the eyewear. The creation of frames allowed for the work of newer technology to be added on to the original design for specific purposes.