All About Sunglasses Any time of year, sunglasses should be a part of your daily heath-consciousness routine. Sunglasses are not just for summers on the beach anymore or just for looking cool and mysterious. Designer sunglasses are no longer just for wealthy movie stars. Sunglasses are crucial in protecting your eyes from the permanent damaging effects of Ultra Violet radiation. Sunglasses in some form have been around for a very long time. Roman Emperor Nero made sunglasses by watching gladiator competitions through polished light emerald green gems held up to his eyes. The true invention of sunglasses was somewhere between 1268 and 1289. Before 1430, smoky quartz, flat-paned sunglasses were worn by Judges in the Courts of China to conceal any expression in their eyes. Prescription sunglasses were developed in Italy in 1430 and were later used by the Chinese Judges. In the mid 18th Century, James Ayscough developed blue and green corrective lenses, beginning the use of sunglasses for correcting optical impairments. Until 1730 when Edward Scarlett invented hardened sidepieces, there were problems in keeping eyeglasses propped on the nose. Glasses frames had been made from leather, bones and metal and sidepieces began as silk strips of ribbon that looped around the ears. Instead of loops, the Chinese added ceramic weights to the ends of the ribbons. Benjamen Franklin's invention of bifocal lenses followed in 1780. By the 20th Century, sunglasses were used to protect the eyes from the sun. In 1929 Sam Foster's "Foster Grants" were the first mass-produced sunglasses and they began the trend of sunglasses for fashion. In the 1930's the Army Air Corps asked Bausch & Lomb to develop sunglasses that would efficiently reduce high-altitude sun glare for pilots and they came up with dark green tinted sunglasses that absorbed light through the yellow spectrum. Edward H. Land had invented the Polaroid filter and by 1936 he used it in making sunglasses and soon, sunglasses became "cool." Movies stars began wearing sunglasses to hide behind and for fashion. Aviator glasses became popular with the movie stars and the general public in 1937 after Ray Ban developed the anti-glare sunglasses using polarization. The longer lens was created to give more protection to pilots' eyes from light reflecting off their control panels. By the 1970's Hollywood stars and fashion designers made a huge impact on the sunglasses market. Clothing designers and stars put their names on glasses and sunglasses and everyone had to have them. In 2007, stars are still hiding behind their oversized designer sunglasses, making fashion statements and protecting their eyes from the harmful effects of the Ultra Violet radiation. Today's trendy designer sunglasses are a status symbol; however, in order to be fashionable in sunglasses, you do not have to give up quality. Quality designer sunglasses can be polarized to reduce the glare of sunlight reflecting off surfaces like the highway, cars, water or snow. Polarized sunglasses work by blocking off horizontal light reflections and only let in vertical light reflections. The polarization of designer sunglasses makes them fashionable in other areas of lifestyle like golfing, boating, biking, swimming, fishing and aircraft flying. Marketers of designer sunglasses target children who choose the same hot styles and brand-names as their parents and their idols. Sunglasses for children have Disney and cartoon characters in many colors, shapes and styles. Children's designer sunglasses can also be polarized to block the harmful UV radiation. With modern technology and improvements, the making of sunglasses continues to evolve. We have gone from holding green gems up to our eyes to Oakley's 2004 sunglasses with digital audio players built in. Sunglasses are "Hot!" When it comes to fashion, sunglasses are "hot!" What can be hotter than George Clooney as Danny Ocean wearing designer sunglasses in the Oceans movies? Paris Hilton or the Olsen twins can be seen, just about anywhere in Hollywood, day or night, wearing the latest in designer sunglasses. When they walk the red carpet and they are asked, "What are you wearing?" they might lower their sunglasses down on their noses and peer over the rims and drop designer names like Vera Wang, Dior, Valentino, Gucci and Armani. As an attention-getting accessory or fashion statement, designer or custom sunglasses are nothing new. Trendsetters like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Elton John sported designer and custom sunglasses as part of their "look" or star status. Some have worn sunglasses to hide behind, cover their drug-affected eyes, or make a statement. Pictures of Elvis Presley reveal that he had sunglasses custom-made for him with his initials or the letters TCB (Taking Care of Business) built right into the nose bridge. Stars like Sophia Loren, Donald Trump, and Britney Spears have their own name brand sunglasses on the market while others may be wearing Marc Jacobs or Armani sunglasses for a classy look or Baby Phat for punk style. The mood for the day might be for the blast-to-the-past 1950's look of Fossil sunglasses. The same clothing designer may also be the designer of the sunglasses that you choose to accessorize your brand-name clothing. For instance, the smart Tommy dresser can add to the look of a Tommy Hilfiger clothing ensemble with Tommy Hilfiger sunglasses. For casual wear, Kate Spade sunglasses might do nicely. Carrera is known for a sporty look. For a sensual mood, Valentino frames that have smooth round edges and Swarovsky crystals might just put you (or whoever is looking at you) in the mood. Designer sunglasses, if you can afford them, are a status symbol showing everyone that you have the cash (or credit card) to buy them. However, in order to be fashionable in sunglasses, you do not have to give up quality. Sunglasses, not being just fashionable accessories, are used to protect your eyes from damage caused by the sun's UV (ultra-violet) rays. Designer prescription sunglasses can improve vision, and reduce eyestrain, just like ordinary glasses. Name-brand and designer sunglasses can be polarized to reduce the glare of the sunlight reflecting off surfaces like the highway, cars, water or snow. Polarized sunglasses work by blocking off the horizontal light reflections and only let in vertical light reflections. The polarization of designer sunglasses makes them fashionable in other areas of lifestyle like golfing, boating, biking, swimming, fishing and aircraft flying. Marketers of designer sunglasses aim toward children who enjoy the same hot styles and brand-names as their parents and their idols. Children's designer sunglasses can also be polarized. Sunglasses should be part of children's daily wear as they play outside and engage in outdoor sports and activities. Sunglasses can prevent them from the long-term affects of sun damage to their eyes. Sunglasses in any shade, shape or size, by any name may be a "hot" fashion item for trend-setting stars, men, women and children, but the importance of protecting the eyes from damage far outweighs the importance of looking cool. Primary Benefits of Sunglasses There are many reasons to wear sunglasses, and everyone has one of their own. Whether it is to mask a hangover, create mystery or escape the paparazzi, sunglasses are a part of everyday life. However, often the true benefits of this popular accessory are lost when fashion or other purposes take over. It may not be your only reason, but your best reason for sunglasses should be to protect your eyes. Science has come a long way in correcting vision gone bad. Corneal transplants help a blind person see again. Laser treatment can restore your eyesight to 20/20 or better in mere minutes. Even with all this technology, wouldn't it be easier to take care of your eyes from the start? By simply wearing good sunglasses, you will reduce your need for these scientific breakthroughs later in life. The sun creates ultraviolet light rays which contribute to the heat it produces. These rays, called UVA and UVB can cause irreparable damage to your retina and corneas. If you've ever watched an eclipse, you know you had to do so through a pinhole in a shoebox. This is because staring directly to the sun can cause great damage to your eyes. Unfortunately, many people are unknowingly allowing their eyes to suffer the same fate by simply choosing not to wear sunglasses. Such disorders as cataracts, macular degeneration, and even skin cancer around the eyes can be signs of sun damage and can be prevented in part by the use of sunglasses. Cataracts are an eye condition that involves clouding of the lens behind the Iris and Pupil. Although no one truly knows what causes cataracts, studies have shown links between this condition and increased exposure to ultraviolet light. Though we do not know 100% that this is the cause, it has been determined that people who habitually wear sunglasses have seen a decreased incidence of this eye disorder. Macular degeneration causes those who suffer from it to have difficulty seeing in detail. Often even faces are hard for these people to distinguish. This disease, like cataracts, is most prevalent in elderly patients. However, also like cataracts, prolonged exposure to sunlight without the protection of sunglasses has been included as a probable cause. Individuals who practice care in selecting sunglasses with 99%-100% UV protection stand a greater chance at avoiding this fate. Think about the last time that you spent all day in the sun and were really badly sunburned. You probably took cold baths and slathered yourself in Aloe Vera. It is a painful condition to be in when this happens to your skin. Now, imagine what that same sunlight that gave you second degree burns on your skin is doing to your eyes when you choose not to protect them with proper sunglasses. That alone should be motivation to hit the sunglass kiosk at the mall. You don't often think of sunglasses as something that will protect your skin. In reality, a good pair of sunglasses can save your face in more ways than one. Increased exposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer and will attach the most sensitive areas first. How much more sensitive can you get then the skin around your eyes. Sunglasses can reduce the risk of skin cancer in the eyelids and areas around your eyes. Another benefit your skin will enjoy from a good pair of sunglasses is a decreased appearance of lines around the eyes. Simply logic tells us that distorting the face in certain ways on a regular basis can cause premature wrinkles and increase the signs of aging. When you do not wear sunglasses, you tend to squint, as your eyes are uncomfortable being opened under bright light. Sunglasses can actually help reduce the appearance of crow's feet by allowing your facial muscles to remain relaxed. Your eyes are one of your most valued features. Can you imagine waking up tomorrow and not being able to see? Many people are born blind and would give anything for the eyes you take for granted every day. A good pair of sunglasses will protect you against a world of eye disorders and pain. If you don't protect this valuable possession, before you know it, it could be gone. How Do Sunglasses Work? You've been told your entire life that sunglasses are important. You know that they protect your eyes, block out the sun's ray and prolong good vision. But have you ever wondered how these miracle shades do all of that? Of course not, but you should learn. Sunglasses basically do four things for you, aside from completing a killer outfit. It is important to know what these things are and how they are done to ensure your sunglasses are doing their job. As you probably already know, sunglasses provide protection from ultraviolet rays in sunlight. UV rays can cause serious damage to the corneas, and a good pair will shield 100% of these rays. A protective coating on the outside of sunglasses acts as a kind of filter. While it allows light through, it helps to filter out the radioactive light waves that can lead to so many dangers to your eyes. Possibly the most prevalent purpose sunglasses serve is to provide protection from intense light. Intense sunlight can cause you to squint, a natural reaction to too much light entering the eyes. If squinting does not provide enough protection, damage to the cornea can occur next. This is especially common when outside in the snow without your sunglasses. The white of the snow reflects and magnifies the intensity of the light. The tinting of your sunglasses will help determine the amount of light your eyes will be exposed to. As there are different types of light, all the colors of the rainbow, different shades of lenses will protect in their own ways. Gray and almost black tinted lenses will offer the greatest amount of protection from intense lights while avoiding distortion of most colors that you see. Another quality sunglasses carry is something we are all most likely thankful for. They can provide protection from glare. Water and other shiny looking surfaces can produce a glare. These glares can block out other objects, like a car turning out of a parking lot just ahead of you. Good sunglasses can completely eliminate this kind of glare using polarization. Light waves vibrate just like sound waves do. When a group of light waves come together but are traveling in different directions, a glare occurs. When you are blinded by a glare off of the water or another vehicle's windshield, what you are seeing is a traffic jam of light waves. Polarization filters built into sunglasses are made up of molecules that realign the light waves with each other and eliminate the glare. As noted before, Sunglasses can eliminate specific frequencies of light. Certain light frequencies can cause blurred vision, while other frequencies enhance contrast between colors. Choosing the right color for your sunglasses lets them work better in specific situations. Yellow, gold, amber and brown tinted sunglasses are especially good for blocking out blue light. Blue light is the color of light in the spectrum that scatters and causes blurred perception. While the yellow shades can make the rest of the world look a different color, you will see most clearly and detailed through them. Green tinted sunglasses are better for filtering some blue light and reducing the occurrence of glares. They also offer the highest contrast and greatest visual sharpness of any other colored lens. For this reason, green sunglasses are very popular. Rose colored shades and purple tints offer the best contrast of objects against a green or blue background and make great sunglasses for hunting or water skiing. Now that you know how sunglasses work you can be a responsible consumer. Know what to look for when choosing your sunglasses. It is not a bad idea to have more than one pair around for different reasons. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time outdoors on a variety of activities. Be responsible about your eyes and learn to protect your vision while it's still yours to protect! Where and When to Wear Sunglasses You may have a favorite pair of sunglasses that goes great with a certain outfit. You might also have a tendency to wear a pair of sunglasses you just got religiously...for a week. Then you never pick them up again. Sunglasses do you no good on your dresser or in the visor of your car. It is important to wear sunglasses at all the appropriate and important times. Of course, a blanket statement is to say that all sunglasses should be worn at all times during the day. Ideally this is great, but do you know why it is more important to wear them sometimes and other times not as pertinent? There are certain high risk activities, times, and locations that warrant special sunglass consideration. If you wear sunglasses no other time, these are the most important occasions. Summertime is the most dangerous season for your eyes. You are at least three times more likely to cause serious sun damage to your eyes in the summer than you are in the winter. This is because the sun produces three times more ultraviolet radiation in the form of UVA and UVB rays during the summer than any other season. Aside from this, there are clear and obvious reasons you would want to utilize sunglasses more in the summer than the rest of the year. The sun is out in full force during the hot summer months, and most people like to spend their free time outside when they can. The light and heat of the midday summer sun is enough to leave anyone reaching for the SPF 45. So if you are so protective of your skin, why wouldn't you be equally concerned about your eyes? Summer is the most important time for sunglasses to be worn. Make sure you have a trusted pair of shades before hitting the beach with July. Some medications can cause people to experience photosensitivity. This heightened sensitivity to sunlight can cause increased discomfort if sunglasses are not in place. Medications to treat psoriasis, some birth controls and even pills for skin treatment can cause photosensitivity. When this happens, you won't have to be reminded to bring the sunglasses along. The inability to open your eyes for longer than ten seconds will let you know that it is time to go shopping for shades. Winter sports enthusiasts often forget about the importance of sunglasses. When you are sailing down the mountain with the fresh cold air in your face, it is easy to forget that the sun is alive and well here too. Although the sun may not shine as brightly or produce as much heat as other times and places, the damage it causes can be the same or worse. The white of the snow reflects the harmful rays of the sun directly into your eyes if not properly protected by sunglasses. Some people will not realize until much later that their eyes have been burned, but it is not something they will soon forget. Water sports are another occasion in which a dependable pair of sunglasses will save much hardship. While surfing, wake boarding or water skiing, you may be aware of the sun above you. However, what may not be as prevalent is the fact that the sun is reflecting off of the water and straight into your eyes. Just as it does with snow, the sun wreaks havoc on eyes unprotected by sunglasses. It should go without saying that sunglasses are almost always a good idea. Any daytime outdoor event is an occasion for the sun to damage your eyes if you are not wearing sunglasses. Avoid a lifetime of suffering by making the right decision now. When you're headed outside for any reason and the sun is going to be attending also, grab the sunglasses. You'll thank yourself later. When NOT to Wear Sunglasses As with virtually anything else in life, there is a time an place for sunglasses. Most would agree that the benefits of protective eyewear are tried and true. Still, there are times and places that your sunglasses are not appropriate. Additionally, there are also times and places that they're just not going to do you any good. The etiquette of eyewear is not a topic that is often discussed. We would all like to think that everyone would make the right decision in deciding when to take and when to leave behind the sunglasses. Still, there are obviously those that could use a little help on the subject. For those people, and as a reference for the rest of us, compiled here are just a few of the occasions in which sunglasses should be left in the car. Wearing sunglasses indoors anywhere is almost always not appropriate. If you have a medical condition causing sensitivitety to artificial lights, you may be excused from this rule. To everyone else that insists on wearing shades indoors, you should know something crucial. The rest of us are watching you, waiting for you to walk into a wall or trip over a chair. Socially, wearing your sunglasses indoors is often just plain rude. When you are trying to carry on a conversation with a person that is wearing sunglasses for no apparent reason, it can be rather distracting. While you may think that you are putting out the mystery-man vibe, you're actually just telling people you are not interested in what they have to say. If you plan to make it a habit of giving off this attitude, expect to receive the same in return. Unless you are Corey Hart and need to "keep track of all the visions" in your eyes, sunglasses at night seem a little silly. For the same reason you should not wear sunglasses indoors, wearing them at night should be avoided as well. Again, you may think you look cool, but just about everyone else will think you're drunk or trying to cover up a black eye. Whether or not it is socially acceptable, sunglasses at night is just not a good idea. Consider what a pair of sunglasses is meant to do for you. They are designed to shield your eyes from the violent radiation of the sun and make it more comfortable for you to see. While your efforts of protecting your eyes from the brightness of the street lights, you may be doing more harm than good. Logistically, it can be dangerous to wear dark shades at night, particularly while driving. Why inhibit your vision more than the darkness of the night already does? Find another way to tell people you're cool. Some situations are acceptable times to wear sunglasses, but still carry rules to be considered. For example, you have been invited to a friend's house for a mid day barbeque. This is a perfectly good time to wear that great pair of sunglasses you got last week. However, if those sunglasses are completely opaque or mirrored on the outside, reconsider for something that shows off your eyes a little. In a social gathering or setting, people will presumably strike up conversations with others they find interesting. It can be difficult to approach a new person and say hello. When that person is wearing dark, reflecting sunglasses, they may find themselves sitting alone watching everyone else mingle. For this circumstance, consider a shade of lens that protects your eyes and still allows your features to be seen. This will help you seem more approachable and less intimidating. There are other times that you may want to wear sunglasses and social acceptability does not get in your way. You will not, however, enjoy any of the benefits of sunglass protection, as these high intensity lights are much stronger than the UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun. Any kind of welding equipment, tanning beds and eclipses all emit high intensity light for which your sunglasses are no match. Special protective eyewear is needed while working with welding equipment and while in tanning beds. Additionally, a pinhole camera is the preferred apparatus for viewing an eclipse. When deciphering where and when to bring the sunglasses, a little common sense will go a long way. Protect yourself from high intensity light with specialized eyewear designed for that particular activity. Know when sunglasses are needed and when they are not. Taking a moment to consider a few factors will save you embarrassment and possibly injury later. How Sunglasses Are Made Sunglasses are trendy fashion accessories that make you look and feel cool, but have you ever wondered how those cool shades are made? Sunglasses come in many styles, shapes, colors and brands. There are polarized, prescription, clip-on, flexible, men's, women's, unisex, children's, designer, and custom-made sunglasses. There are police, pilot and rescue sunglasses, biker, skier and other sports sunglasses. There are even sunglasses with built-in audio digital players. How are all these different sunglasses made? Sunglasses have various types of lenses. Glass lenses have better visual quality and are more scratch-resistant than plastic ones. Photo chromic lenses darken in reaction to light. Glass photo chromic lenses are more efficient in the reduction of Ultra Violet light rays. Gradient Lenses are darker on top and gradually become lighter toward the bottom. Materials used for tinting polarized lenses are generally brown or gray. Any color tint can be used for high index, Trivex, and polycarbonate. Different color lenses give different levels of protection from the UV rays of the sun. For example, amber and brown do a better job of absorbing the UV light. Treatment of clear lenses with anti-reflective coatings will protect the eyes from UV radiation. The best level of protection from UV rays is 100 per cent. The anti-reflective coating has an additional benefit of helping to protect the lenses from some surface scratches. Before tinting, lenses need to properly fit in the selected previously manufactured frame; therefore, the lens needs to be ground to fit the frame's size and shape. Also, the lens has to be ground according to the prescription in order to solve refractive errors in the customer's vision. Myopic vision is one example of an eye problem that would require a prescription for sunglasses. Other sunglasses prescriptions could be for bifocals, progressive bifocals and trifocals which would require a larger size lens to accommodate the lens progression. The grinder that is used to grind the lenses to the specifications of the prescription is called an edger. There is a constant source of water running over the lens while it is being ground in order to reduce the heat caused by friction on the glass. The friction heat can cause glass to crack or break. Water also makes the grinding easier and smoother on the edge and prevents scratching of the surface from dry glass grit. When the grinding is completed and the lenses are cleaned, tint is added to the lens by dipping the lens in a tint solution which is absorbed into the lens. The longer it is dipped, the darker the tint. The lenses are thoroughly rinsed and dried then are fit into the sunglasses frame and the frame is secured tightly around the lens by tightening the screws on the frame. Sunglasses frames are mass-produced from products like plastic, nylon, carbon fiber and metal. The process of making sunglasses has come a long way from when Roman Emperor Nero held polished light emerald glass gems up to his eyes and Chinese attached ceramic weights to the ends of ribbons draped over the ears in order to keep on their cool sunglasses. Sunglasses and Technology You are probably fairly familiar with the basic science behind sunglasses. They filter out harmful light rays and protect your eyes from intense light. However, the technology behind sunglasses and creating new designs may have a few more tricks up its sleeves. Even in 2007, sunglasses are reaching new heights of science and creativity. If you are a corrective lens wearer, you will love this feature for sunglasses. No one likes having to change out glasses every time they move from indoors to outdoors. Additionally, you have to worry about losing your sunglasses while you wear your prescriptions, or vice versa. Photo Chromic lenses are typical prescription strength glasses while you are inside. However, when you step outside into the light, they morph into sunglasses. The technology of the Photo Chromic lens is as sensitive to light as your eyes are. Unlike your eyes, however, these sunglasses will adjust in accordance with the magnitude of light to provide the necessary protection. Sunglasses with lenses that transform automatically from clear to dark may not be particularly brand new information to everyone. They have been on the market for several years, and have now been revolutionized yet again. New sunglasses currently in development will change not only from clear to dark but also to shades of yellow, green and purple. Not only will the transition occur much faster with these sunglasses, but they will offer many more options as well. They will be able to improve visual contrast, as well as brightening low-light conditions. Unlike traditional color changing lenses, these sunglasses will be controllable by the wearer. A small dial on the arm can take you through a spectrum of shades and tints. The lens material will be made from a plastic can change its color and transparency when the sunglasses receive an electrical charge. The lens contains a gel-like solution in between the layers that helps transport charged particles. A watch battery delivers the charge. When the electricity is transmitted, the molecules change from transparent to a variety of shades and tints in seconds or less and your glasses become your sunglasses! Visual effects are not the only advances made for sunglasses in recent years. Many product developers are beginning to see the need to further integrate technology and communication into everyday life. For this reason, you can now purchase sunglasses that are also your mobile phone. Since the advent of the headset, it is a common need for one that does not get in the way of your sunglasses. This new phone turned eyewear is an obvious solution to the problem. Another extremely popular tech toy today is the MP3 player. Long gone are the days of the Walkman or even the Discman. The computer age has taken over all facets of our existence, including the music we listen to. Few individuals today are without an MP3 player. Heaven forbid we are caught anywhere without ever song we own to keep us company! Following the desperate need we have to be surrounded by our music, sunglasses have been developed to accommodate us. Sunglasses with built-in speakers can be plugged into your MP3 player in the same way your ear buds could. If this is not hi-tech enough for you, pick up a pair of sunglasses that actually ARE the MP3 player. Simply download your tunes onto your sunglasses and take off down the road. Science is constantly changing and developing exciting new inventions. Twenty years ago you never would have believed someone if they told you that you may be listening to music on your sunglasses. New developments are happening all the time, so don't be left behind. Pay attention to see what they come up with next. How to Shop for Sunglasses When choosing the sunglasses that best fit you, three factors should be considered. First and foremost, sunglasses are used to protect your eyes. A pair of sunglasses that offer no protection can actually be more harm than good. Secondly, your sunglasses should feel comfortable. Finally, you want to look good in your shades, so pick a pair with some consideration of style. Sunglasses can be made of many different varieties of materials. These materials also carry with them different levels of protection. As you sift through the masses, remember that protection is the reason you are wearing sunglasses. Find out about the level of UV ray protection they offer and avoid those that cannot provide 99-100% protection from UVA and UVB radiation. Dark sunglasses do less for your eyes than you think. A darker tint makes it more comfortable for you to see in the bright sun. However, if those dark glasses fail in offering the protection you need from harmful rays, they may be causing more harm than good. Dark shaded sunglasses make it easier for you to open your eyes, allowing UVA and UVB rays greater access to your eyes to cause more damage. If forced to choose, you are better off with a pair of sunglasses with UVA protection and a light gray tint than in dark lenses with no UVA protection. There are also additional measures you can take with your sunglasses to help protect your baby blues (Or your greens, browns and grays. They're all equally important!) Many sunglasses have a wrap-around design that widens around the temples and appears to wrap around your head. This design blocks the sun from the sides of your face, offering greater protection than smaller framed glasses. If your precious eyesight is not enough to convince you to be choosey about your sunglasses, consider one more thing. When you squint your eyes, you are causing your forehead and sides of your face to wrinkle. No one wants crow's feat before their time. After protection, comfort is the next most important part of picking out your eyewear. Consider the tint of the lens. For very bright settings where the sun has surfaces to reflect off of, polarized lenses may be helpful. Polarized sunglasses reduce the glare caused by the sun hitting the water, snow or other surface. Even though you may be blocking out the harmful UVA and UVB rays, you're not going to care much if you can't see anything. When you try on sunglasses, pay attention to how they feel on your face. Does the nosepiece rest firmly on the bridge of your nose without sliding? Is the frame a good fit for your face and rests gently over your ears? This is a helpful checklist when sunglass shopping. If the sunglasses are going to cause you discomfort, you'll be more likely to take them off. If that's the case, why have them in the first place? Although it should never be your number one consideration, fashion should be a factor in the selection of your sunglasses. It is not absolutely necessary that you wear the designs you see celebrities sporting at all times. Those shades may be easier to find than others, but they're not the only ones out there. Pick frames that flatter the shape of your face and complement your style. A good rule of thumb is to choose a frame shape that is the opposite of your facial shape. A round face goes well with a pair of oval or square sunglasses. The worst shape for the round face is a pair of round frames. Likewise, an thinner or longer face looks great with a pair of round frame sunglasses, but not so much with a square set of frames. Oval shaped faces have their pick of shapes, they are the most versatile. "Lucky!" Just be smart when shopping for sunglasses. Remember what you're buying them for, and pick styles that complement you. When you choose sunglasses based on these three factors your eyes will thank you. They'll be protected, stylish, happy, and you will be too.
Weird Science of Sunglasses Everyone loves a good pair of sunglasses. With all the benefits of sunglasses, it's hard to have an excuse not to wear them. You may even want to tell your friends about all the great things a pair of shades can do for you. You probably own one or two pair of standard issue Jackie-O's or Aviators, but wait until you find out about the strange oddities that are available in a pair of sunglasses. Some people may take pet ownership to extreme levels. For those people, sunglasses for your dogs are just a drop in the bucket. It's difficult to picture your little ball of fur in a pair of Aviators. However, the truth is that dogs have just as many eye problems as humans do, and their eyes should be protected. Having said that, if you can get your canine to wear sunglasses-and keep them on-more power to you. You're probably the same one that buys seasonal outfits for them too. Regis and Kelly, National Geographic and Animal Planet have all taken notice of sunglasses for dogs. They actually serve more than one purpose. Doggie sunglasses help protect your hound's eyes from the same harmful rays our sunglasses so. However, since we very rarely hang our heads out a car window, dog sunglasses have an added feature for even more protection. Resembling goggles, these sunglasses will keep dirt, dust and other debris from flying into your little friend's eyes while flying down the highway. It seems like an insane design, but when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. These shades for dogs help to protect your best friend the way he would protect you if he could. Child sized sunglasses are one thing, but baby sized are quite another. These miniature sunglasses are sure to inspire a collective "Awwwww" from anyone passing by, but are they really necessary? This idea seems silly at first, but is another that becomes more reasonable when you consider all of the factors. Babies are the most sensitive creatures of all of us. This goes double for their eyes. A newborn's eyes are capable of seeing no more than about ten inches away from their face. Even at this distance, most things are very blurry. When the sun reflects into an already blurred perception of the world, the results can be very harmful. Baby sunglasses are not just a cute idea, they are essential to protecting your child's eyesight. Anytime you are outside with your baby, you should utilize shades on the car seat, stroller, and in the car. A pair of tiny sunglasses adds an adorable finishing touch with extra protection. Don't forget to take a lot of pictures; you won't want to forget this! Flip-up sunglasses are by no means a new invention. Still, the look of these glasses still deserves mention and a second look whenever you see them. For this particular weird design of sunglasses, the utility makes perfect sense while the appearance is often strange. It does make perfect sense that you would want to turn your average glasses into sunglasses, and the flip-up shades are very convenient. But when you're in a meeting with the shades popped up and what appears to be two sets of eyes looking back at the other person, don't be surprised if they stare and giggle a little. Sunglasses, as with any other type of popular culture are going to come in normal and strange designs. However, before you dismiss those abnormal styles, consider its usefulness. Even the odd in appearance can be functional, and possibly make life a little easier. This Season's Sunglasses Summer is upon us, and with it comes a wave of new styles. Perhaps the most fun about summer style is finding out which sunglasses will be hot this year. The key to the hippest styles usually has nothing to do with what is brand new. Most "new" style trends are simply spins off of formerly worn, beloved fads. This summer's sunglasses will be no exception to that theory. For men and women's sunglasses this year, bigger is definitely better. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie have flaunted their flair for the oversized frames for the past few years, and it looks like the trend has finally taken hold. Oversized sunglasses, paying homage to the late, great Jackie O, appear to be here to stay. However, fashion gurus will warn you not to go overboard with this idea. If the sunglasses appear to be swallowing your face, you might want to take it down a notch. Particularly in the moment of the oversized framed sunglasses, women appear to be having fun with their colors. No longer is the Jackie O a plain black frame with dark black lenses. Today's are Onassis Glasses with an attitude. Fashion icons can be seen sporting oversized frames in red, green, purple, and other bright colors. However, white frames also seem to be a favorite. One retroactive style of sunglasses that is back again is no longer exclusive to men. While guys love this look too, Aviators are striking a feminine note this year. These sunglasses are as versatile and fun as they are functional. For the men, they can be found in dark colored or mirrored lenses, while women may favor purple or rose tints on these particular sunglasses. Rhinestones and other gems are added to the sides of the lenses for a little flare. Another particularly popular style of the moment for men and women is the wraparound. Don't be fooled by the name. These are not your average snowboarder's goggles turned sunglasses. This year's wraparounds are being designed by some of the most celebrated designers in Hollywood, New York, Milan and everywhere in between. You will not be disappointed. Particular varieties of wraparound sunglasses are geared toward either men or women by changing up the style, color, and size. Women are leaning toward larger styles, as with the oversized craze discussed earlier. For wraparound oversized sunglasses, stars like Beyonce have been of inspiration to designers. One favorite is a square shape, and the lenses simply continue to the arms of the sunglasses and lay over the temples. This style too has been dressed up with rhinestones for a little shine. Men's wraparound sunglasses this season are all about sleek and simple design. Most designers have abandoned the flowing, rounded look of original wraparounds for a more box like effect. As with women's wraparounds, the lens continues to the sides of the head. Black seems to be the most popular color in these men's sunglasses, which completes the chic, classy look you want your man to have. This summer welcomes old styles of sunglasses with new attitude. Check the red carpets and runways for the latest developments and to make sure they style you're sporting didn't go out of style yesterday, how embarrassing! Just remember that all the celebrities in the world can't dictate what looks good on you, so pick your sunglasses based on what you like, not them. The Making of Sunglasses Roman Emperor Nero "made" the first sunglasses by watching gladiator competitions through polished light emerald green gems held up to his eyes. The true invention of sunglasses was somewhere between 1268 and 1289. Around the twelfth century and before 1430, sunglasses were worn by Judges in the Courts of China. The smoky quartz, flat-glassed panes were not used as protection from the sun. They were used to conceal any expression in their eyes to keep from giving away the outcome of their decisions. Prescription sunglasses were developed in Italy in 1430 and were later used by the Chinese Judges. By the 1600's people began to realize the benefits of prescription glasses as helping the elderly to see better and the motto "A Blessing to the Aged" came into being in 1629. In the mid 18th Century, James Ayscough developed blue and green corrective lenses which began the use of sunglasses for correcting optical impairments. The development of glasses and sunglasses evolved. Problems in keeping eyeglasses propped on the nose led to experiments. Glasses frames had been made from leather, bones and metal and were propped on the nose. Sidepieces began as silk strips of ribbon that looped around the ears. Instead of loops, the Chinese added ceramic weights to the ends of the ribbons. Solid sidepieces were invented by Edward Scarlett in 1730. Benjamen Franklin's invention of bifocal lenses followed in 1780. By the 20th Century, sunglasses were used to protect the eyes from the sun. In 1929 Sam Foster began selling his protective sunglasses at Woolworth stores on the boardwalk at the beaches in Atlantic City and New Jersey. His Foster Grants were the first mass-produced sunglasses and they began the trend of sunglasses for fashion. In the 1930's the Army Air Corps asked Bausch & Lomb to develop sunglasses that would efficiently reduce high-altitude sun glare for pilots. Bausch & Lomb came up with sunglasses that had a dark green tint that absorbed light through the yellow spectrum. Edward H. Land had invented the Polaroid filter and by 1936 he was using it in the making of sunglasses and soon, sunglasses became "cool." Movies stars began wearing sunglasses as a statement and to hide behind. Aviator glasses became popular with the movie stars and the general public in 1937 after Ray Ban developed the anti-glare sunglasses using polarization. The longer lens was created to give more protection to pilots' eyes from the light reflecting off their control panels. By the 1970's Hollywood stars and fashion designers made a huge impact on the sunglasses market. Clothing designers and stars put their names on glasses and sunglasses and everyone had to have them. In 2007, stars are still hiding behind their oversized designer sunglasses, making fashion statements and protecting their eyes from the harmful effects of the Ultra Violet (UV) rays of the sun. With modern technology and improvements, the making of sunglasses continues to evolve. We have gone from holding green gems up to our eyes to watch Gladiator sports to Oakley's 2004 sunglasses with digital audio players built in. What's next? Famous Faces behind Famous Frames Who Made Sunglasses Popular? We know by simply looking around that sunglasses are a pop culture phenomenon. Have you ever stopped to wonder how they became this way? Humans seem to have an obsession with sunglasses as more than protection for their eyes. Sunglasses make a statement about the face they're sitting on, and can add much needed style to an ensemble. One has to wonder how sunglasses came to be what they are today. Sunglasses have been worn and made infamous throughout the years by a variety of icons and legends. Some of these iconic names have even been given to their chosen signature style. Former First Lady and American Royalty Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had a particular favorite style of sunglasses. This oversized look was coined as "Onassis Glasses" or "The Jackie O" and will probably never be known by any other name. Sir Elton John has paraded his courageous fashions on stage for the past four decades. Known for his amazing way with Ivory keys, and his crazy fashion statements, Elton John has inspired stylistic insanity with his share of peculiar eyewear. He has been seen on stage wearing some of the most imaginative and artistic sunglasses the world has ever known. However wacky the designs have been, Sir Elton John's trademark is not necessarily in the frames of the sunglasses he wore. Lenses of all different shades have been this icon's signature style. Whether yellow, blue or purple, Sir Elton seems to like the way the world looks through these colorful shades. James Dean helped make one particular style of sunglasses popular. The 1950's movie star could often be seen wearing the style known as the Wayfarer. This simple design of sunglasses made famous by the "Rebel Without a Cause" is proof that even the most uncomplicated ideas can take off with a little bit of fame behind them. Later, James Belushi and Dan Aykroyd put their own spin on the retro sunglasses. The Blue Brothers movie of 1980 saw the two sporting the Wayfarer style in a more modern, sleek, black look. The glasses came back in style briefly and made other appearances on the screen, such as Risky Business. No girl can forget a young Tom Cruise in underwear, a dress shirt and his Wayfarers doing a sideways sock-slide to "Old Time Rock and Roll". Musicians are known for setting style trends, including sunglasses. In reality, the reason so many musicians began wearing sunglasses while they performed is that the stage lights can be blinding. Additionally, during the 1960's and 1970's, musicians like John Lennon, Ozzy Osbourne and Janice Joplin were said to have worn the sunglasses all the time as a way of disguising mysteriously bloodshot eyes. This theory has not been proven, so we can all assume they wore them because they looked cool. John Lennon and Ozzy Osbourne helped bring the Teashades into popular culture. Other musicians such as Mick Jagger and Janice Joplin favored this style. This style of sunglasses is still mostly associated with former Beatle John Lennon. This is perhaps because not only were they his preferred shape for sunglasses, but his corrective lenses were this shape as well. Movie and rock stars are not the only ones that have made sunglasses what they are today. The United States Military has had a hand in coining what is possibly the most famous sunglasses style in history. In the 1930's, Ray Ban designed sunglasses that were sold to the U.S. Military to be issued to pilots. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Aviators are born. This is quite possibly the strangest fashion trend setter yet: the United States Government! Another example of the average Joe popularizing a fashion trend is in the case of the "cop shades" or Mirror Shades. Police officers favored this design and it quickly made its place in pop culture trivia books everywhere. A popular theory for this preference is that police officers like the intimidating vibe they gave off. It is somewhat unnerving to look into a one-way mirrored pair of sunglasses and not know the expression of the person looking back. Many people have played a part in making sunglasses the pop culture icon they are today. You don't have to be a movie star, musician, or government official to start a fashion trend. Pick up a pair of sunglasses that looks good on you, even if they have been out of style since the Reagan Administration. Wear them with pride; you never know when it might catch on! Same Sunglasses, Different Reasons Everyone should be familiar with the primary reason sunglasses are worn. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun, warding off long term effects of the sun's damage. However, what are some other reasons to wear sunglasses. Everyone has their own reasons, aside from the protection benefits, for wearing sunglasses. Sunglasses, especially darker ones, help to create an air of mystery surrounding their owners. It is often difficult to carry on a conversation with a person wearing opaque shades. This mysterious, often intimidating look is a favorite for investigators, poker players, and police officers. When someone cannot see your eyes, it is difficult for them to tell what you are thinking. Sunglasses are a fashion statement all their own. They are often the first thing that a person sees when they look at you. The shades you wear make a statement about you, so choose wisely. The sunglasses you pick out could mean the difference between telling the world that you are a fashion force to be reckoned with, or someone whose mom still picks out his clothes. On a more somber note is a situation most of us ourselves in. Sooner or later, everyone loses someone in their life and there is a funeral to attend. Vanity should not be your first priority in this case, but there are certain measures you can take to help grieve with a little dignity. A carefully selected, tasteful pair of dark sunglasses will help mask the red and puffy eyes you may experience while crying. Remember when deciding which pair to wear for this particular occasion that elegance and taste are extremely important. Whether it is allergy season or you pulled an all-nighter studying for finals, you don't have to cry to achieve the red, puffy-eyed look. Let's face it, everyone has stayed out a little too late the night before and awakened the next morning to see Frankenstein starring back at them in the mirror. Sunglasses come in handy for these reasons as well. They may be a telltale sign of a one-too-many night if you wear them in the office, so this would not be recommended. However, the sudden sensitivity to light you may feel when you step into the day for the first time can be cushioned with a good pair of sunglasses. Athletes often find themselves playing their particular sport outside on a hot, sunny day. Unfortunately, there are no allowances in the rules for a baseball player that misses a fly ball because the sun blinded him. To help with athletic performance, certain sunglasses are made specifically for athletes. An aerodynamic design and wraparound shape hug the face and ensure the player sees every ball coming his way. The important detail for these sunglasses is size. They have to fit perfectly; otherwise they'll fall off while running, if too big, or cut off circulation in your face if they're too small. One use for sunglasses has only recently been discovered. The next time you are flying overseas and want to avoid the taxing effects of jet lag, try putting a pair of sunglasses. Scientists have recently discovered that sunglasses help fool the body through the use of light. Your biological clock (which-as it turns out-is a real thing) consists of about 20,000 nerve cells that respond differently to light and dark. By wearing sunglasses for certain amounts of time during a long trip, you can lessen the effects of jet lag. You see that there are many reasons to wear sunglasses. These reasons should not, however, overshadow the primary benefit. Sunglasses are protection for your eyes. They will help ensure you keep seeing the world the way it was intended. That is the best reason of all to pick up a pair today. Retro Sunglasses, the Way to Go When it comes to sunglasses, is retro the way to go? You are probably seeing a lot of different designs of shades these days, are they new? Truthfully, there are really no new designs, just redesigns of a formerly popular style. In the fashion world, retro designs are everywhere--and sunglasses are no exception. One design that has poked its head back into the fashion world is well known all over. Onassis Glasses, or the Jackie-O design sunglasses were popularized by the former First Lady Kennedy. After becoming Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, she flaunted this oversized style of sunglasses all over the globe. The style was so closely associated with her, that it has shared her name since the late seventies. After fading from the public eye, the Onassis Glasses lay dormant for about thirty years. However, poised for a comeback, these sunglasses have begun making waves on red carpets and runways all over. The women credited for bringing back the infamous sunglasses are Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton. Since then, Jackie-O's have been seen on the faces of famous women and trendy-but-average Janes everywhere. Another retro design of sunglasses that has made big waves recently is the cleverly named Aviators. Originally designed in the 1930's for military pilots, Aviators were hot on fashionable faces in the 1960's and 1980's. True to their every-twenty-year trend, Aviators are back with avengance and have been favorites for men, and women, with style. It is particularly true that this style of sunglasses has caught on with the younger "MTV Crowd" more than with adults. Johnny Knoxville has adapted Aviators as his signature style. Some styles of sunglasses have briefly shown themselves in fashion, only to never be heard from again. This is not necessarily a bad thing. There are those sunglasses the human race still feels a little silly about. However, let's not speak too soon. These sunglasses could be waiting in the wings for their triumphant return. OVER-Oversized sunglasses are one fashion faux-pa most of us would rather not make. The design is a retro tribute to the late Lady O when they are slightly oversized and conservative. However, when the sunglasses appear to be attempting to take over your face, you may have crossed the line into ridiculous. Save the supersized look for clowns and put this design back in the vault. Another design that some hope will never return carries a soft spot in the hearts of many women. The Wayfarer sunglasses were first made popular by Hollywood's bad boy, James Dean. After his death, these sunglasses were worn for a time, before slowly falling by the wayside to make room for the newer styles. However, the Wayfarer was gone but not forgotten. The sunglasses made a double comeback on the faces of James Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, better known in the eighties as the Blues Brothers. The sunglasses with a clean black, square design were a perfect complement to their all black suits, hats and ties. Wayfarers made one more comeback in 1983 when a sock and underwear clad young man slid into the living room and into our hearts. Before Tom Cruise was the controversial figure he is today, he was a hot high school graduate just trying to get into a good college. The Wayfarers sunglasses haven't been much on the fashion scene since then, but we've never forgotten. It's hard to tell what may come next in the world of fashion sunglasses. If you really want to keep up with it, just check the fashion magazines in early spring and see what new old styles are unfolding. You may have seen them all before, but these retro sunglasses are bound to have a new and exciting twist. Designer Sunglasses When it comes to fashion, designer sunglasses are "hot!" Paris Hilton or the Olsen twins can be seen, just about anywhere in Hollywood, day or night, wearing the latest in designer sunglasses. When they walk the red carpet and they are asked, "What are you wearing?" they might lower their sunglasses down on their noses and peer over the rims and drop designer names like Vera Wang, Dior, Valentino, Gucci and Armani. Stars like Donald Trump and Britney Spears have their own name brand sunglasses on the market while others may be wearing Marc Jacobs or Armani sunglasses for a classy look or Baby Phat for punk style. The mood for the day might be for the retro 1950's look of Fossil sunglasses. Your favorite clothing designer may also be the designer of the sunglasses that you choose to accessorize your brand-name clothing. For instance, the smart Tommy dresser can add to the look of a Tommy Hilfiger clothing ensemble with Tommy Hilfiger sunglasses. For casual wear, Kate Spade sunglasses might do nicely. Carrera is known for a sporty look. For a sensual mood, Valentino frames that have smooth round edges and Swarovsky crystals might just put you (or whoever is looking at you) in the mood. Trendy, cool-looking name-brand or designer sunglasses, if you can afford them, are a status symbol showing everyone that you have the cash (or credit card) to buy them. However, in order to be fashionable in sunglasses, you do not have to give up quality. Sunglasses, not being just fashionable accessories, are used to protect your eyes from damage caused by the sun's UV (ultra-violet) rays. Designer prescription sunglasses can improve vision, and reduce eyestrain, just like ordinary glasses. Quality designer sunglasses can be polarized to reduce the glare of the sunlight reflecting off surfaces like the highway, cars, water or snow. Polarized sunglasses work by blocking off the horizontal light reflections and only let in vertical light reflections. The polarization of designer sunglasses makes them fashionable in other areas of lifestyle like golfing, boating, biking, swimming, fishing and aircraft flying. Marketers of designer sunglasses target children who enjoy the same hot styles and brand-names as their parents and their idols. Sunglasses for children have Disney and cartoon characters in many colors, shapes and styles. Children's designer sunglasses can also be polarized to block the harmful UV radiation. Sunglasses should be part of children's daily wear as they play outside and engage in outdoor sports and activities. Sunglasses can prevent them from the long-term affects of sun damage to their eyes. When most people grab a pair of sunglasses, they are only thinking about shading their eyes or looking cool. Sunglasses in any shade, shape or size, by any name may be a "hot" fashion accessory for trend-setting stars, men, women and children, but the importance of protecting the eyes from damage far outweighs the importance of looking cool. The next time you head out in the sunshine, be sure to grab your designer polarized sunglasses and give some thought to the fact that you and your sunglasses are protecting your eyes and your eye sight. Seeing is cool. The Creation of Popular Sunglasses: The Mirrorshades It seems like every time you see a movie or TV show where police officers are involved, they seem to be wearing large sunglasses with mirrors on the outside. What are these shades and how did they come to be what they are today? The truth is that Mirrorshades, as the sunglasses are called, are often associated with law enforcement and government officials for a valid reason. Mirrorshades are sunglasses with a reflective optical coating on the outside of the lenses to make them appear like small mirrors. The mirror coating can decrease anywhere from 10%-60% of the light that passes through and makes contact with your eyes. Mirrorshades are great sunglasses for anyone that spends much of their time outdoors, possibly even on a motorcycle or in a car for eight or more hours per day. However, Mirrorshades serve a greater purpose than simply shielding the eye. These sunglasses prevent another person from making eye contact with the wearer. The mirrors are created so that an onlooker will only meet his own reflection when attempting to gaze into the eyes behind a pair of Mirrorshades. It is for this reason that Mirrorshades have become popular sunglasses for officers of law enforcement and military. Their popularity with police officers in the United States has earned them the nickname "cop shades". Much like an interrogation room, a suspect is unnerved by looking into a window and being unable to see who or what is looking back at him. It is also for this reason that Mirrorshades are often favored by competitive poker players. Mirrorshades are available in several different designs. The sunglasses most frequently worn by police and military are Aviators. This style received its name around the 1940's and 1950's when they were popular sunglasses for military pilots. In the 1930's, Ray Ban created this design and sold it to the United States Military. The military issued the sunglasses to their pilots to protect them while they flew. From there a fixture among sunglass styles was created. Another particularly popular style of Mirrorshades is called the Wraparound. This style of sunglasses consists of either one or two smooth, semi-circular lenses that cover the eyes and resemble the shape of protective goggles. Wraparound sunglasses are quite popular in the world of extreme sports. They are often particularly associated with snow sports, such as skiing and snowboarding. The Mirrorshades are created with a coating on the outside of the lenses of the sunglasses. The coating can range from a very simple form made up of a single layer of very thin film all the way to a thicker, more reflective form. The thinner layer of film can be very likely to scratch with minimal pressure, and is sensitive to salt water. These sunglasses should be treated with the utmost care. The more modern reflective coatings on Mirrorshades usually have several layers making them more durable and less likely to become scratched. While these sunglasses may be more expensive, you often get what you pay for when purchasing sunglasses. Choose wisely and educate yourself on sunglasses before deciding which ones to buy. Mirrorshades will prove beneficial to your eyes and your style. Historical Overview of Sunglasses Sunglasses can be found around every corner you turn today. You can find them in grocery stores for a few dollars or in specialty stores for a few hundred dollars. Sunglasses come in so many different shapes, designs and colors that there is a pair out there for everyone. But the market for sunglasses has not always been this way. Sunglasses have been in use for centuries and have evolved over time into what they are today. They were not always the fashion icon they are today. Similarly, they were not always used for the same reason they are today either. Surprisingly, the first form of what we have as sunglasses today were not originally developed to shield eyes from the sun or help poor vision. In Ancient China, sunglasses were developed out of smoky panes of quartz glass. Judges wore these prehistoric ray bans as a way of keeping their expressions to themselves. Little did they know that poker players centuries later would adopt this same principle use of the eyewear. Ancient Rome can also take part of the credit for today's sunglasses. The Emporer Nero, while watching gladiator fights enjoyed doing so through polished gems. It is possible that the Emporer saw the benefits of distorting the sun's beams as a way of seeing more clearly. It is also possible that he enjoyed these early sunglasses because he thought the gladiators looked better in different colors. For whatever reason, sunglasses still today are available in any lens color you can imagine. During the eighteenth century, the design of the sunglasses were altered by an inventor seeking to use color as a vision correction. He was convinced that blue and green tints helped the eye see better when vision was poor. He had no reason to consider the advantages of shielding the eyes from the sun, as no one knew what a UVA ray was at the time. It was not common knowledge during this time that the sun could be harmful and cause future vision problems. Sunglasses were finally introduced in the United States in the early twentieth century, around 1930. These innovative eye pieces were marketed on the boardwalks of Atlantic City and promised to protect the wearer's eyes from the harmful sun. It was in this same decade that polarization of the lenses was developed as well. The inventor of the famed Polaroid camera integrated his Polaroid filter into the makeup of the sunglasses' lenses. This technology, which is still used today, was the greatest step of its time toward the protection of the eyes from the sun. Since the 1930's, sunglasses have steadily become a favorite accessory for everyone from the true fashion icon down to the style novice. Sunglasses have been implemented as a way of showing off one's style, sophistication, and social status. Individuals have made their own styles famous and timeless. The most famous of all the sunglasses style icons is unarguably the late Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, or simply "Jackie O.". The oversized sunglasses of the same name were a token symbol of the former First Lady and American Icon. Around the year 2000, Jackie's signature style was made popular again for young women by another style icon, Nicole Richie. Sunglasses have come a long way over the centuries. They have evolved in uses, styles, popularity and technology. With sunglasses what they are today and their importance in popular culture, it is difficult to imagine where and in what form they will turn up next. Keep your eyes open-and your sunglasses handy-to find out! The Dark History of Sunglasses Sunglasses have a dark history, but a brilliant future. The history of sunglasses can be traced back to Roman Emperor Nero who watched the gladiator competitions through polished light emerald green gems held up to his eyes. The invention of sunglasses was somewhere between 1268 and 1289. A visual historical recording of early sunglasses is a painting done by Tommaso da Modena in 1352. The person in the painting was wearing sunglasses. This was the first painting of a subject in sunglasses and many more were to follow as it became a fashionable symbol of distinction or honor. Around the twelfth century and before 1430, sunglasses were worn by Judges in the Courts of China. The smoky quartz, flat-glassed panes were not used as protection from the sun. They were used to conceal any expression in their eyes to keep from giving away the outcome of their decisions. Prescription sunglasses were developed in Italy in 1430 and were later used by the Chinese Judges. By the 1600's people began to realize the benefits of prescription glasses as helping the elderly to see better and the motto "A Blessing to the Aged" came into being in 1629. It was the motto of an English eyeglasses manufacturer, Spectacle Makers Company. In the mid 18th Century, James Ayscough developed blue and green corrective lenses which began the use of sunglasses for correcting optical impairments. The development of glasses and sunglasses continued through the years. Problems in keeping eyeglasses on the face or propped on the nose led to experiments. Glasses frames had been made from leather, bones and metal and were propped on the nose. Sidepieces began as silk strips of ribbon that looped around the ears. Instead of loops, the Chinese added ceramic weights to the ends of the ribbons. Solid sidepieces were finally invented by Edward Scarlett in 1730. Benjamen Franklin's invention of bifocal lenses followed in 1780. By the 20th Century, sunglasses were used to protect the eyes from the sun. In 1929 Sam Foster began selling his protective sunglasses at Woolworth stores on the boardwalk at the beaches in Atlantic City and New Jersey. His Foster Grants were the first mass-produced sunglasses and they began the trend of sunglasses for fashion. In the 1930's the Army Air Corps asked Bausch & Lomb to develop sunglasses that would efficiently reduce high-altitude sun glare for pilots. Bausch & Lomb came up with sunglasses that had a dark green tint that absorbed light through the yellow spectrum. Edward H. Land had invented the Polaroid filter and by 1936 he was using it in the making of sunglasses and soon, sunglasses became "cool." Movies stars began wearing sunglasses as a statement and to hide behind. Aviator glasses became popular with the movie stars and the general public in 1937 after Ray Ban developed the anti-glare sunglasses using polarization. The longer lens was created to give more protection to pilots' eyes from the light reflecting off their control panels. By the 1970's Hollywood stars and fashion designers made a huge impact on the sunglasses market. Clothing designers and stars put their names on glasses and sunglasses and everyone had to have them. In 2007, stars are still hiding behind their oversized designer sunglasses, making fashion statements and protecting their eyes from the harmful effects of the Ultra Violet (UV) rays of the sun. With modern technology and improvements, sunglasses continue to evolve. We have gone from holding green gems up to our eyes to watch Gladiator sports to Oakley's 2004 sunglasses with digital audio players built in. What's next?
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