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Founding Fathers With Glasses

July 5, 2016

We just celebrated the Fourth, and at OCLI, we love observing the holiday with the traditional grilling and family get-togethers. We also love taking in the fireworks as they shoot off in the night, but not everyone can see them clearly without help. Some people need glasses to see our beautiful Fourth of July fireworks displays—and that’s okay! There have been plenty of great men and women in our country’s history that needed the help of spectacles to get their job done. In fact, many of our founding fathers wore glasses regularly to help with poor eyesight.

George Washington

Yeah, our boy George may not have really chopped down that cherry tree, but he absolutely did wear glasses. He had a pair of reading glasses with a solid silver frame, and they’re now housed in the collection at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Washington was also known to use a lorgnette—French eyeglasses on a stick. Quite fancy, but what else would you expect from our first president?

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson made a name for himself as a great thinker and writer, as well as being our third president. You can imagine that that took quite a bit of reading and writing by candlelight, and Jefferson needed reading glasses as he got older. Jefferson also apparently needed the frames to be just right, and got involved with their design, exchanging ideas with Philadelphia optician John McAllister.

Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin needed glasses, but instead of just rolling with whatever was at his local optician’s, he decided in characteristic Ben Franklin fashion that he would make his own. He wound up inventing the bifocal—glasses with an upper half for vision far away, and a lower half more commonly used for reading. The basic design is still used today for people with presbyopia, the condition Franklin suffered from. He eventually wrote his friend George Whatley that he was, “happy in the invention of double spectacles, which serving for distant objects as well as near ones, make my eyes as useful to me as ever they were.”

As you can see, even the founding fathers needed some help when it came to their vision. But if they had had the option of getting LASIK surgery in order to get rid of their cumbersome glasses, do you think they would have? Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure, but we like to think that they would have made the choice to permanently fix their vision.

If you’re thinking about LASIK, then contact OCLI today to find out what your options are. We’ve helped so many people just like you, so what are you waiting for?

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