A Brief Look at the History of Sunglasses

Sunglasses took their coveted spot as popular culture fashion icons in the 1960s when Foster Grant launched an effective advertising campaign using well-known fashionistas and Hollywood stars as models in order to make their sunglasses seem chic and encourage people to purchase them. However, the notion of looking through colored lenses dates back much further than the Foster Grant craze of the 1960s and 70s. Instead, it dates back prior to 1430 in China.

The Chinese sunglasses were not created to protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays or glare, but instead were used in the Chinese judicial system. Smoke was used to tint quartz lenses and then they were built into smoke-tinted sunglasses that were worn for centuries by Chinese judges. The purpose of wearing the sunglasses was to hide any eye expression that the judge may use, because the judge’s opinions of evaluations of the evidence was required to remain a secret until a trial had concluded. It was felt that the smoke-tinted glasses accomplished this feat by disguising the eyes of the judge thus keeping his thoughts and opinions secret. In or around 1430, China was introduced to vision correcting eyeglasses by Italy. These sunglasses were also tinted, but again it was mainly for the purposes relating to judicial business.

Throughout the mid-18th Century scientists pursued the belief that blue and green tinted lenses could correct vision problems. And, in fact, it was not until the twentieth century that sunglasses began being considered as a way of protecting delicate eyes from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. The American military played a large role in the development of sunglasses for this purpose when in 1930 they contracted with Bausch & Lamb to design a spectacle that would protect pilots from high-altitude glare. In addition, Edwin Land from Polaroid created and implemented the use of a polarizing filter to cut down on the chances of harmful rays reaching delicate eyes even more.

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Protection Means Quality Not Style

Finding the right protection for your eyes requires more than sizing up the right style. For protection from the harmful UV A and UV B rays of the sun you need a high quality pair of sunglasses that have been manufactured to specific optical standards so that they are distortion free and have a full 100 percent protection from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. UV rays enter the eye through the pupil. When pupils are dilated more rays enter the eye through the widened pupil. Sunglasses that are dark but that have limited UV protection can cause greater damage to an eye over those that are exposed to direct sunlight without any sunglass protection.

Originally designed for pilots flying in the lower atmosphere, Ray Ban sunglasses were the first sunglasses to be specifically designed to block out the bright light of the sun and give the wearer protection from the effects of ultraviolet light. The RayBan Aviator was aptly named for the pilots that wore them and have been produced by RayBan since the 1940s. As styles of sunglasses have changed over the years the RayBan Aviator has been a staple of the sunglasses manufacturer and continues to be popular today.

The RayBan lens that has also withstood the test of time is a gray green color that is darkened to allow only fifteen percent of natural light to pass through the lens. The G-15 lens was originally produced to cut the glare and brightness of the sun at high altitudes and has done the job so well that other manufacturers including Smith Optics, Bolle and Persol has patterned their sunglasses lenses on allowing only fifteen percent of the light to penetrate the lens. When looking for a pair of sunglasses chose quality first and fashion second and you will look stylish and be protected from the harmful effects of the sun.

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Expensive Designer Sunglasses

Sunglasses have been around for centuries, in the early ages the Inuit people would wear flattened walrus tusks with slits in order to protect their eyes from the sun, the people of ancient China fashioned flat panels of smoky quartz to do the same. Even the Roman Emperor Nero wore emeralds as a way to shield his eyes from the glint of the sun off the gladiators’ shields as they fought for their lives on the arena. Indeed, for ages, the sun and its harmful rays have been a concern to the human race.

These days, wearing sunglasses is more of a fashion statement rather than simply a means of protection. Expensive designer sunglasses are always perched atop the heads of the a-list celebrities as they try to run away from the paparazzi. Over the ages, sunglasses have been iconic in films and television. In fact, they were first popularized by General MacArthur in the 1930’s during the Second World War since he was photographed in a pair of the iconic aviator as he stepped upon the Philippine shores. Expensive designer Sunglasses have become a status symbol, the most expensive pair produced by the company Dolce and Gabana costing over 300,000 dollars made with golden frames with the logo set with many little diamonds.

Be it for eye protection, or to add an air of mystery about you, one’s wardrobe should never be lacking this essential item. It is like a little black dress that one can pull out for any occasion, even at any time of day. As the song goes, you can wear your sunglasses at night, if you need to hide.

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The Trend of Aviator Sunglasses

Mirrored Aviator sunglasses arrived in the 1930s when they were used by Pilots. They became part of the fashion world when they were seen being used by top movie stars.

Tom Cruise is noted for movies like Top Gun, could have been said to have started the aviator sunglasses fashion trend. Many others came to follow.

Classic aviator sunglasses have a dark metal frame and silver reflective lenses. There are many more modern versions and also feature modern brands like rayban and Gucci.

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Polarized Designer Sunglasses

Have you ever wondered why designer sunglasses cost so much? Or do you perhaps you assume that they do because of the brand. When it comes however, to eyewear, especially sunglasses, the brand may not be the only thing you are paying for. You pay for the craftsmanship, the style and design, the quality and most importantly the technology. Polarized designer sunglasses are usually made from materials or derived from research that is recent and up to date. The sun can be great for you in some ways but it can also be extremely harmful in others. Polarized means that the sunglasses are designed to significantly reduce glare from surfaces such as large bodies of water, snow and glass. Wearing these kinds of sunglasses are extremely beneficial for those who play sports and drive since it reduces the risk of accidents.

There many interesting properties of light, most especially when it reflects from other surfaces. Polarized designer sunglasses utilizes one of these properties: polarization. Usually, a source of light will produce waves that go in different directions, however, when the light I bounces off a surface such as glass or water, the waves of light are polarized, this means that they then orient along a horizontal axis.

Using a vertical polarizing lens will reduce the intensity and brightness of the light waves but at the same time will allow optical information through to your eyes.

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