Sunglasses Have Stood the Test of Time
Not many products and accessories have stood the test of time, for thousands of years sunglasses have been worn for a number of reasons by almost every corner of society, from emperors in Rome through to today's fashion catwalk models.
Sunglasses have been an essential part of day to day life almost since records began, they can be traced back to origins in ancient Rome where it has been documented historically that emperor Nero wore a form of sunglasses to watch gladiator fights, although the sunglasses were in the form of polished gems for fashion purposes and not for blocking the sun.
It is thought that quartz sunglasses were used by the ancient Chinese courts to prevent witnesses from being influenced by the judges facial expressions, again this type of manufacture offered no UV protection but were worn for a purpose. History books and records attribute this form of sunglasses to sometime in the 12th century.
There's not a wealth of information covering their use in the Chinese courts up until the 1700’s when the work of a man named James Ayscough, who experimented with different colour lenses in the belief they would correct visual problems, started to introduce blue and green lenses to glasses. Again, as with the initial uses in ancient Rome and China, there were no benefits to the wearer in terms of UV protection.
It was not until the 1920’s that sunglasses were designed and sold in America to protect human eyes from the rays of the sun. Sunglasses became very popular and were most commonly worn by beachgoers in New Jersey after a boardwalk retail shop named Woolworth began to stock and sell them.
Sunglasses only started to become a fashion accessory during the second world war when US soldiers were photographed wearing their sunglasses. It is thought the younger generation at the time wanted to replicate their war heroes and wore sunglasses with pride.
Since then sunglasses have become a worldwide phenomenon with people from all walks of life and cultures using them for almost every use imaginable such as sports, work, health and obviously for the “cool” image they portray.
Most Hollywood blockbuster films are watched globally, celebrities and film stars are often seen wearing sunglasses throughout the movie thus creating a need for their fans to go out and purchase the same products. In the 1980’s Tom Cruise starred as a fighter pilot in a film called Top Gun wearing what are known as aviator sunglasses, this style of sunglasses still remain popular almost 30 years later.
There are also countless other variations of sunglasses available, polarised sunglasses protect the wearer from the sun's glare and are often used to enhance performance in water related sports such as fishing due to the extra visual benefits they pass on in reducing glare from the water.
Whatever the requirement for sunglasses one thing is certain, global warming and ever changing climates are leaving the earth exposed to increased levels of ultra violet rays from the sun. This means sunglasses will be needed to protect peoples eyes for countless years to come.