We thought you would find this article of interest about Jefferson’s eyeglasses. It appears he spent at least two years corresponding with an optician in hopes of receiving the perfect eye glasses to ensure he would be able to continue writing and reading.
“Thomas Jefferson’s Spectacles”
(Feb/Mar 2012 Issue of Albemarle Magazine)
Thomas Jefferson may have made a name for himself as a great thinker, reader and writer, however this did not exempt him from vision problems. Despite having declared his vision to be his faculty least impaired by age, Jefferson had a history of using eyeglasses for reading. It is not hard to imagine why: the hours on end he must have spent reading and writing by candlelight at Monticello would exhaust even those with twenty-twenty vision. He went through numerous pairs of glasses in his lifetime, searching for the perfect fit. During the second term of his presidency, he enlisted the help of Philadelphia optician John McAllister, from which a two-year correspondence grew. It would take about two weeks to produce a frame, which Jefferson would at times reject. In an effort to create a pair that would satisfy him, he began to become actively involved in the spectacle’s design. After exchanging ideas with McAllister, a design was reached that would effectively achieve the benefit of trifocals.
More resources on Jefferson’s spectacles: