Medicine: Eye Business

If the ghost of a Florentine monk who died in 1317 had appeared in Chicago last week, it could have pointed a spectral finger at 59 men and one woman, members of the American Academy of Optometrists, and intoned: "Your means of livelihood you owe mostly to me." In a Vienna museum stands a statue of this medieval monk, with a pair of glasses in one hand and bearing this inscription: Here lies Salvina D'Armato degli Armati of Florence, the inventor of spectacles. May God forgive his sins.

In the U. S....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!