In the May issue, I wrote about a woman pioneer of optical innovations, Dr. Estelle Glancy. I credited Glancy with inventing the lensometer but the first lens measuring instrument was invented by Charles J. Trottman of F. A. Hardy & Co. in 1912, although Glancy worked with Edgar Tillyer to introduce a commercial version of the lensometer in 1921. I thank Diane Matuck, trustee of the Optical Heritage Museum, for notifying me of the error and sending great information about Glancy and the lensometer. Thanks also to Dick Whitney, Optical Heritage Museum executive director, who also sent information from which I learned that Glancy’s work was instrumental in improvements to cameras, telescopes, lenses to correct aniseikonia, lenses for wrap aviator goggles and more. What a woman!
The opportunity to look back gives us a perspective on how far we’ve come. There is some evidence of the use of “visual aid devices” dating back to Greek and Roman times. Early lenses were magnifiers, likely leaving myopes squinting. The first spectacles, lenses held in frames without temples, are thought to have been made in northern Italy in the late 1200s. Johannes Kepler finally explained how concave lenses could correct myopia in 1604. There was little advancement in spectacle lens design until 1784 when Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals. From there, it wasn’t until the 20th century that lenses and eyewear began to advance by leaps and bounds.
New materials, coatings and manufacturing processes continually evolve. And high technology lenses require high technology manufacturing and measuring equipment. Rulers and marking pens are being abandoned in favor of digital measuring devices that don’t just take a PD and seg height, they account for exactly how the glasses are going to fit the patient, position of wear, to enable lens manufacturers to calculate precisely how to generate a lens that will provide the best vision possible.
As ECPs, it is incumbent upon us to remain informed and educated about the latest advances in our field. Vendors are a great resource. Make sure to take advantage of all they can offer. Conventions and seminars provide excitement and camaraderie with learning. And 20/20’s CE courses will keep you up to date. Learn more about a new advancement in the field of ophthalmic lens design combining big data, A.I. and digital technology for an innovative and first of its kind progressive lens design at 2020mag.com/ce.
• Linda Conlin