Sunglasses: Fashion beyond protection from sun

By Funmilayo Peleowo

Sun glasses are a form of protective eye wear designed primarily to prevent bright sunlight and high visible light from damaging or disconcerting the eyes. The origin of sunglasses was traced to when people wore flattened walrus ivory glasses to block harmful reflected rays of the sun. The earliest  historical reference to sunglasses dates back to ancient China and Rome. The Roman emperor Nero watched gladiator fights through polished gems.

 In China, sunglasses were used in the 12th century or possible earlier. These sunglasses were made out of lenses that were flat panes of smoky quartz. They offered no corrective powers nor do they protect from glare. Ancient documents describe the use of such crystal sunglasses by judges in ancient Chinese court’s to hide their facial expression when they interrogated witnesses.

Tinted lenses in spectacles started around 1752 which was been experimented by James Ayscough. He had the belief that blue or green tinted glass could potentially correct specific vision impairments. Protection from the sun’s rays was not his concern at that time. Tinted glasses with yellow-Amber and brown were also a commonly-prescribed item for people with syphilis in the 19th and early 20th century because one of the symptoms of the disease was sensitivity to light.

Inexpensive mass production of sunglasses started in 1929, when Sam foster introduced them to America. Foster sold his sunglasses on the beaches of Atlantic city, new Jersey under the name foster Gant from a Woolworth on the Boardwalk. Protect people’s eye from the sun’s rays.

Sunglasses became popular and available in 1936, when Edwin H. land began using his patented Polaroid filter when making sunglasses. It also played a significant role during the World War 11, when Ray Ban created anti-glare aviator style sunglasses, using polarization. Ray Ban sunglasses became popular with the celebrities and the community in 1937 when they started to be sold for the public.

Today, tinted sunglasses has gone beyond healing, but now without it, at times an outfit is incomplete. Sunglasses with UV protection has almost become industry standard. Sunglasses is not only put on for sun protection, it also makes an outfit more gorgeous. Next time you  go for shopping try and get one not just for  sun protection, but to look more stylish.

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