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The History of Sunglasses and Their Evolution Over the Years

The History of Sunglasses and Their Evolution Over the Years

Sujit Adhikari |

Sunglasses have been around for centuries, serving as a fashionable accessory and crucial tool to protect our eyes from harmful UV rays. From the early days of Roman and Chinese emperors wearing sunglasses made of smoky quartz to the modern day innovations in lens technology, the evolution of sunglasses is a rich and fascinating history.

The early history of sunglasses can be traced back to the Roman Empire, where emperors would wear sunglasses made of smoky quartz to protect their eyes from the sun during outdoor activities. The Chinese also used smoky quartz and smoky topaz as early forms of sunglasses to protect their eyes from glare while they worked outside.

In the 18th century, James Ayscough developed tinted glasses for people with specific visual impairments, such as sensitivity to light. He believed that blue and green tinted glasses could alleviate specific vision-related symptoms. This marked the first recorded use of tinted glasses for purposes other than pure protection from the sun.

The invention of the first modern sunglasses can be attributed to Sam Foster in 1929, who mass-produced glasses with celluloid plastic frames and tinted lenses. The use of sunglasses became popularized in the 1930s, when movie stars such as Gary Cooper and Ray-Ban began wearing sunglasses on and off the screen. This led to a surge in popularity of sunglasses as a fashionable accessory.

In 1936, Ray-Ban introduced the first polarized lenses, which effectively reduced glare from the sun while driving and boating. This was a game changer in the sunglasses industry, as polarized lenses allowed for improved visual clarity and reduced eye strain.

In the 1960s, sunglasses evolved yet again with the introduction of mirrored lenses, which reflected the sun's rays to provide extra protection and reduce glare. The 1970s saw the rise of oversized sunglasses, popularized by celebrities such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn.

Today, sunglasses have become an essential accessory in our daily lives, with a vast array of lens technology and frame designs to choose from. From photochromic lenses that adjust to different light conditions, to polarized lenses that reduce glare, there are countless options to protect your eyes and enhance your style.

In conclusion, the history of sunglasses is a testament to the human need for protection from the sun and the desire for style and fashion. From smoky quartz and celluloid plastic to polarized and mirrored lenses, sunglasses have come a long way over the years and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the modern world.

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