Sunglasses- A Brief History
By : Anthony Carter
The history of sunglasses can be traced back hundreds of years to the great Chinese dynasties. At the time, sunglasses were made by smoke tinting eyeglasses. These early forms of sunglasses were not initially intended to protect people's eyes from the sun. These early tinted sunglasses were said to have been worn by judges in China who, for centuries, regularly wore the smoke tinted sunglasses not for vision-correction or to reduce glare from the sun, but these smoke-coloured flat panes of quartz were actually used to conceal the eye and facial expressions of the judges whilst in court.
Smoke-tinted lenses did occasionally serve as sunglasses but that was never their primary function, so when vision-correcting eyeglasses were introduced into China from Italy in c.1430, they too were tinted, though these archaic sunglasses were still mainly for use in the courts.
In the mid-18th century, an English man by the name of James Ayscough began experimenting with tinted lenses in glasses, or spectacles as they were known. These were not sunglasses as such, as Ayscough strongly believed that blue, or even green tinted glass could correct specific vision problems. Protection from the sun's rays was not an issue for Ayscough at the time.
It wasn't until the 20th century that modern-type sunglasses came to be. Early silent movie stars were said to wear sunglasses before filming to shield their eyes from the glare of stage lights, which were often as bright as the sun itself. In 1929, an American named Sam Foster began mass producing cheap sunglasses that were designed to protect people's eyes from the sun. These early sunglasses were snapped up by beach goers in New Jersey and this period consequently saw a massive upsurge in demand for them. And so the dawn of sunglasses as a fashion accessory was upon us. By 1930, sunglasses were all the rage and anyone who was anyone had to own a pair.
In 1936, sunglasses became polarized when Edwin H. Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation, invented the first inexpensive filters capable of polarising light, Polaroid film. Around this time, even more Americans started buying sunglasses. With famous stars of stage and music also wearing them, they were becoming not only a way to protect eyes against the sun but also a way to look 'cool'. Sunglasses had by now become a cultural phenomenon with some people even starting to wear them when it wasn't sunny and sometimes even when they were indoors. According to popular belief though, sunglasses really became 'cool' during the Second World War, when wartime images of soldiers wearing sunglasses made them an inspirational item among young people the world over.
In the sixties, an ingenious advertising campaign by the comb and glass firm of Foster Grant 'persuaded' fashion designers of the day, as well as Hollywood film stars to escalate the sunglasses craze and a giant industry was born, where only a few decades earlier no sunglasses industry existed.
With the ever increasing concerns over the effects of the sun's rays, the future of sunglasses looks assured. UV protection is now an industry standard and there are sunglasses available for a variety of pursuits. The different lens tints available are numerous and sunglasses have changed styles many times over the years. Some prescription glasses have also been given tints that only appear when the sun's rays hit the glasses. Technology is certainly alive and well in the sunglasses business and who knows what we can expect in the future?
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Sunglasses: Getting the Color, Material And Frame Right
By : Trevor Mulholland
Sunglasses were once a simple thing to buy. You only had to stop by the drugstore, choose a frame that you liked and walk out the door with it shielding your eyes. The sunglasses lenses were almost always a simple dark brown, the sunglass frames either plastic or wire. But nowadays, when you walk down a busy street in the afternoon, you see sunglasses that are green, grey, purple and red, metallic and plastic, reflective sunglasses or not. Buying a good pair of sunglasses has become more complicated; which one is the right choice? You need sunglasses made of different materials, for different purposes.
When it comes to sunglasses lenses, a person can wish to change the colors around for fashion or health reasons. Brown, green and grey are considered the "standard" colors, mostly because they cause the least distortion to how you see colors. Blue and purple sunglasses are for fashion purposes and have no medical use. Red sunglasses lenses, however, are good for lower light conditions because they enhance contrast. They do come with the side effect of color distortion, as do orange and yellow sunglasses lenses. Sunglasses with green lenses are sometimes used by golfers for its depth perception properties as well as color enhancement. In addition to the color of the lenses, special effects such as mirroring and polarization can be applied to the sunglass lenses depending on the purpose of the sunglasses.
Polarized sunglasses reduce the glare, and sunglasses with mirror lenses reflect some of the light, making it ideal for high light conditions. The lenses on sunglasses themselves can be made from either glass or plastic.
While the lens of the sunglasses may the part most relative to the eye, some attention must be given to the frame of the sunglasses as well. Sunglasses with plastic frames remains the most common choice and has no particular benefits or uncomfortable side effects. Sunglasses with metal frames are also very popular and have the same strength as plastic. Sometimes sunglasses come with small springs to increase flexibility and make them a little more comfortable and secure. The most flexible material is nylon and it is commonly used in sports due to its flexibility and light weight.
The way the frame holds the lens is also a choice you can make. Full-frame sunglasses are sturdier and more secure, but there is no doubt that frameless sunglasses are currently more fashionable. Some find the lighter weight uncomfortable and prefer to go with half frame sunglasses, a good mix of comfort and sturdiness. If you find yourself at a loss, consult with your optometrist or the person in charge of sales in your sunglasses store. In the end, the only thing that matters is getting a pair that suits your exact needs.
Sunglasses: When Is It Appropriate to Wear Them?By: Anthony Carter
Most people own a pair of sunglasses, and quite a few of these will have more than one pair. Some people see their sunglasses as an essential item of fashion, whereas others would take the view that sunglasses are there just to wear in the sun. You may see someone falling in love with a pair of designer sunglasses they have just purchased, wear them constantly for a couple of weeks and then discard them without a seconds thought, forgetting about them all to soon. It's no good just throwing them into a corner- sunglasses are very important to overall eye health and should be worn appropriately.
Ideally, sunglasses should be worn at all times whist outdoors, to help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and radiation (which by the way are also a risk in winter, despite the cold temperatures). More often than not though, most people are either unable, or simply unwilling to wear sunglasses at all times while they are outdoors, but there are certain situations that necessitate the wearing of sunglasses. You could be in a certain location or be taking part in a particular activity that warrants the wearing of sunglasses and if you don't wear them at other times, it would be hugely important to wear them at these particular times.
Obviously, neglecting to wear sunglasses in the summertime would cause the most problems for your eyes as the sun emits about three times more UV radiation at this time of year than at any other. Hence it could be said that in the summer you are three times more likely to have damage done to your eyes by UVA and UVB rays than in any other season. As well as this though, there are obviously more reasons why sunglasses would be more important to wear at this time of the year.
As the summertime is warmer and brighter than any other season, people tend to spend more time outdoors at this time of year than any other. Conversely, in the warm weather people tend to splash on the sun cream to protect their skin from the harmful rays of the sun- but what about the eyes? Are they not as important as the skin? You certainly can't rub the sun cream into your eyes to protect them can you? No- so putting on a pair of sunglasses is the way to go!
Some people may experience increased photosensitivity after taking certain medications and this heightened sensitivity to light and particularly sunlight causes a great deal of discomfort. Wearing sunglasses alleviates this problem making life a bit more bearable for the unfortunate sufferers.
Hitting the ski slopes is always a lot of fun- lots of snow and lots of cold. Sunglasses would be the last thing on your mind at times like these but you would be making a big mistake. The sun may not be warm or shine as brightly as other times or places but the damage that can be caused to the eyes is large. Snow has the unfortunate effect of reflecting the suns glare straight into your eyes, risking eye burn if they are not protected with a pair of UV rated sunglasses.
Taking to the water without sunglasses is not without its problems either. Whether you are water skiing or surfing you must take precautions. Water has the ability to reflect the suns glare, just as snow does. It may not be to the same extent but it's certainly enough to cause damage to the eyes. Sunglasses that are polarized are especially useful around water.
The bottom line is that your eyes are important- more than important. They are vital! Be sensible and protect them with a good pair of protective sunglasses when you're out and about- you may just have something to be thankful for in years to come.
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FishGillz Sunglass Co.
Newport Beach, CA 92660