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Straight spectacles, France, 1801-1920

These frames are made from extremely fine steel wire. They have been heated at a high temperature to produce an oxide layer. This prevents rusting. The process is called ‘blueing’. The spectacles are light and fragile-looking. They may have been worn by a man or a woman. The x-shaped bridge or double bridge is known as the French style due to its popularity in France.

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Glossary: ophthalmology

The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

Glossary: spectacles

Pair of eyeglasses to compensate for defective vision or to protect the eyes from light, dust, and the like. Kept in place by sidepieces passing over the ears, on the nose or held in the hand.

Glossary: optometry

The professional practice of eye and vision care. Optometry includes the correction of visual defects with lenses or glasses.