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4 Facts About Sunglasses Through The Ages

Glamorous, practical, and good for your eye health—sunglasses are the perfect accessory!

Humans have been using eyewear to block out the sun for thousands of years. Check out these facts to appreciate how far sunglasses have come: 

1. People Have Worn Sun-Blocking Eyewear For About 2,000 Years

Research suggests that the first people to use sun-blocking eyewear were members of the Thule culture, ancestors of the modern Inuit. These snow goggles, fashioned from bone, leather and wood, allowed only a small sliver of light through the slits. This effectively shielded the eyes from the blinding glare of sunlight reflected off the snow.

2. Chinese Judges In The Middle Ages Wore Sunglasses In Court

One advantage of sunglasses is they make it easier to maintain a “poker face.” Chinese judges in the 12th century knew this well, and used sunglasses to hide their expression while questioning witnesses. Their flat, smoky quartz lenses didn’t correct vision, so these spectacles were worn purely for the psychological effect.

3. Glasses Gained Sidepieces At About 1730

Until English optician Edward Scarlett invented temple-gripping sidepieces, spectacles were held in place by loops of ribbon around the ears or metal pinching the nose. Wearers of these glasses doubtless spent a lot of time pushing them back into place.

4. Polaroid Cameras And Polarized Sunglasses Came From The Same Inventor

Edwin H. Land, brilliant inventor and founder of the Polaroid company, developed a lens filter to reduce glare. Since 1937, this polarizing technology has been used not only for sunglasses, but also in planes, windows, and LCD screens—just to name a few.

Check Out Some Of Sunglasses’ History And Fashion

People Of All Ages Benefit From Sunglasses’ Protection

Our eyes need UV protection just as much as our skin does! After years of ultraviolet light damage, risk of cataracts increase, eye lenses become yellowed and cloudy, and eyelids can develop cancer. Protecting your eyes from the sun is an essential part of maintaining healthy vision. We’re proud to offer the latest in style and UV protection with our collection of sunglasses and adaptive lenses. Find a Vision Source practice near you, and come check them out! 

Top image by Flickr user Ramesh ram used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Author Vision Source — Published May 7, 2015