What did people with poor vision do to correct it 500 years back?

Early lenses. Magnifying lenses to aid in reading have been described in egyptian hieroglyphs dating to the 5th century bc. Other references can be found in roman writings of the 1st century ad, and in chinese texts of the 12th century. Descriptions of eyeglasses made in italy in 1286 have been found, so the use of lenses to correct refractive errors of vision can be found even before 500 years ago.