I started wearing glasses in college. The large lecture halls were giving me a headache, not because of the lectures - which I loved - but because I was squinting to see the screen. I’ve worn glasses ever since. Several years ago squinting to pass the eye exam at the DMV no longer worked and now my license requires corrective lenses. Over the years I have accumulated quite a collection of old frames. I recently learned that I can take them to my optometrist and they will donate them to a charity that sends them to people in need (something like this, I imagine). It may be more costly than providing new glasses, but what about creating less waste, more jobs and making you feel virtuous!
As an architect, I’m probably more aware than your average eyeglass wearer of eyeglass stereotypes (instant architect sticker anyone?). On the other hand, I’ve never minded the assumption that glasses make you appear smarter. It’s undeniable - right? (See experiment below). It also appears to be scientifically proven, although if you wear glasses, you may not want to google the research as it appears it might also makes you less attractive and likable… Still where did that stereotype come from?
Did you know there exists a Museum of Vision with a terrible website? Despite the amazing name, it does not have the answer (although it does have some interesting objects - prosthetic eye set anyone?) These days it appears there’s a chicken and egg theory at work about intelligence and glasses (your eyesight is actually worse because you study too much…), but historically I finally found a logical explanation (thank you Neil Handley). Soon after glasses were invented in 1296 (ok, 400 years later in the 1700s…) they became a symbol of intelligence because you only needed glasses if you were doing something that required precise vision. Like a profession. Like architecture maybe.