I’ve had my Zyloware glasses frames for almost seven years, but their history goes back to at least the 13th century. Though methods for vision correction such as reading stones existed before this, developments in optics allowed for the refinement of corrective lenses that were attuned to individuals’ eyes. It was not until much later that sleek sides and nosepieces were added to standard frame design to free up wearers’ hands for other activities. Since their invention, glasses have transitioned from purely functional objects seen as cumbersome or even undesirable to fashionable and individualizable accessories. My specific pair of glasses are part of the collection of music-industry celebrity Randy Jackson, whose “empire” has been expanding into realms beyond music such as design.

As far as eyeware goes though, this is not all to this story. Eyeware is generally very expensive and not accessible to low-income people because of their high cost. This is linked to a socio-political context that allows a few companies to control most of the market for eyeware.