Three in four Americans use a form of vision correction, and the global economy would grow by $200 billion if everyone who needed glasses could afford them. In this episode of Johan Norberg’s New and Improved, Norberg looks at the transformative power of optical lenses.
Optical lenses help people see by bending light waves. Ancient scientists grasped this idea of refraction and used quartz and bowls of water as magnifiers, but it was 13th-century Venetian glassmakers who shaped the first lenses that would become eyeglasses.
Optical lenses make everyday life simple for many who might otherwise struggle to survive, but they also make possible the microscope and the telescope, two devices that have revolutionized how we comprehend our world.