Do you ever reach for your sunglasses before you move from your darkened house to the bright, clear day outside? Only on the day you have to purchase a new pair of shades do you think about exactly what you want perched atop your nose. You think about the technical and aesthetic differences. And then as you near the sunglasses store, you wonder if the $200 Serengeti pair really work better than the $10 pair you just tried on at the flea market.
Let us take the mystery out of sunglasses and help you look for what you want. We'll consider styles as well as what technology has done to improve lens composition. We'll also examine how light works and show you why light can actually make the sunglasses essential. The complexity and sophistication of a simple pair of dark glasses may well amaze you.
How do you pick your sunglasses?
Do you choose based on price, style, color, or name brand? The two pieces of tinted glass or plastic set in a plastic or metal frame might seem like a simple design at first, but scientists have found a way to manipulate these two pieces of glass or plastic to literally effect the user's eyesight once he slides them on. Differences between sunglasses really do exist.
What your sunglasses can do for you
Sunglasses should protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Ultraviolet, or UV, light damages the cornea and retina. A great pair of sunglasses will eradicate the UV rays. Your glasses do not have to be ugly to provide great UV protection, most companies already include this as part of their glasses, even the inexpensive brands.
Sunglasses protect your eyes from intense light. Naturally a person's iris closes when the eye receives too much light. After the eye has closed the iris as far as possible, the eyelids will instinctively squint to prevent too much light from entering the eye. If squinting does not deter the light enough, like when sunlight reflects off the snow, the excess light will damage the retina. A great pair of sunglasses will block light entering the eyes as much as 97 percent and thus help the user avoid permanent retina damage.
Sunglasses protect eyes from glare. Reflective surfaces, like water, can reflect intense amounts of light, and bright spots will camouflage or hide objects. Good sunglasses will eliminate the glare with the use of polarization, which you can read about later in this article.
Sunglasses get rid of specific frequencies of light. Some frequencies of light will blur vision while others will enhance contrast. The right color of sunglasses will actually affect the frequencies and allow them to work better in a given situation.
The next time you consider buying a cheap pair of sunglasses, think about the entire purpose for them. You can actually damage your eyes with your tightwad tendencies. Sure, the cheap glasses will save you money, but in the end, you risk your eyesight.
Sunglasses, also commonly referred to as "shades" are dark tinted glasses used to help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and help facilitate your vision in bright sunlight. Many people use sunglasses when outside in the sun, whether they are driving, bicycling, walking, jogging or lounging at the beach. Nowadays, there are thousands of styles, colors and brands of shades to choose from. If you are shopping for a new pair, make sure you verify that they provide adequate UV ray protection for your eyes.
Sunglasses are also viewed as an accessory, and many people use them as a fashion statement to accent their personal style. Many fashion designers, from the everyday to the high-end style houses also design sunglasses under their respective brands. It is not uncommon to see designer sunglasses on celebrities, socialites, or even average people walking around on the street.
Designer shades can accent your personal style and protect your eyes from the sun. Popular brand names include Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Prada, Chanel and Hermes among others. Prices for these fashion statements can range anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars. Whether you spend only fifty dollars or over five hundred dollars, your designer sunglasses are an investment that you will want to protect.
Protect Your Investment
In order to protect your shades properly, you must take care not to let them get any scratches on the lenses or the surface of the frames. To do this, make sure you only place them on soft surfaces. If a case is not included in your purchase, invest in a hard case that snaps shut where you can store your sunglasses when you aren't using them. Also, make sure you learn how to clean your sunglasses properly and carefully. The guide below will help you.
Clean Your Sunglasses
The first step to keeping your sunglasses clean is to make sure they are properly stored when you are not wearing them. If you leave your designer glasses on a table or shelf, they are likely to need more frequent cleaning as they will gather dust there. If you toss your shades into your purse without properly storing them in a case, they are likely to gather dust and debris as well. Keeping your glasses in a case will help prevent the need for frequent cleanings, thus keeping them new-looking and scratch-free.
When it is time to clean your designer shades, make sure you use clean water and a bit of soap. Even using just water is okay, but do not, under any circumstances, wipe your designer sunglasses down when they are dry. Wiping your shades without at least moistening them first can cause scratches and damage to your lenses or frames.
Make sure you are not using a regular towel, tissue or cloth when cleaning your sunglasses. Coming into contact with the wrong type of textile can easily scratch or damage your expensive shades. Instead, use a very soft cotton cloth, such as a chamois, in order to protect your glasses. Another option is to invest in a soft optical cloth to clean your glasses safely and properly.
These days, sunglass care and cleaning kits are available at eyewear boutiques or department stores. Try asking the retailer that sold you your sunglasses if they sell any such kits. Generally a sunglasses cleaning kit will include a small bottle of cleaning solution that is safe and effective for use on expensive shades, a soft cloth made of cotton or microfiber, and a carrying case. If the kits sold at your local retailer seem pricey, simply shop around online for a better deal.
The wearing of sunglasses has become as popular and as common as wearing such articles of clothing as hats, ties, and gloves. Sunglasses are often considered a necessity more than an accessory. Centuries ago they were worn only by the rich and even into the early 1900's only those of fame and fortune were seen wearing these special spectacles.
Tales of "sun cheaters", among other unusual names, were spoken of back in the time of the Roman Empire, when the Emperor would cover his eyes with bits of emerald to help shade the sun from his vision. Obviously the efforts that were utilized diminished the sun but did not protect the eyes from harmful rays. They actually lessened the clarity of what people were viewing.
Sometime in 12th Century China, the first sunglasses were a crude slab of smoked quartz that was made for only the very rich. The quartz slab soon progressed to a slab with a roughly shaped frame to help hold the quartz to the users face. Not only were these handy items used to block out the sun but they were also used to hide emotions from others when speaking with them. This was particularly handy for judges of that time, giving them an air of detachment from the topic being discussed as well as keeping their feelings hidden while questioning the accused.
As time went on, so did the progression of the appearance of sunglasses. Circa 1400, sunglasses were darkened and introduced into Italy via the Chinese. In the 18th century a man named James Ayscough was experimenting with sunglasses but not to help keep out the sun's rays but to help with improving vision for those with poor or failing eye sight. He believed that by changing the color of the lenses to a blue/green tint, he could help correct certain vision conditions.
But sunglasses did not become popular until the early 1920's, when the stars and starlets of Hollywood began using them to shield their eyes from the stage lights and the cameras' blinding flashbulbs. Mass production of sunglasses came about in the late 1920's, when a man named Sam Foster started his company, Foster Grant, in Atlantic City where the beach goers were a steady stream of sunglass sales..
The Army Air Corps were at the forefront of sunglass development when they approached an optical firm by the name of Bausch and Lomb to create effective eyeglasses to protect pilots from high altitude glare. In the mid 1930's Polaroid filters had been invented by Edwin H. Land (founder of the Polaroid Corporation) which now changed sunglasses from being an item to keep out the sun but also to that of a health aid because they now also protected the eyes from harmful UV rays. By the late 1930's when World War II was on the brink of exploding, anti-glare aviator glasses were being made for the fliers and a year later the same sunglass technology was available for the general public.
By the 1960's, sunglasses rose in popularity as a stunning fashion statement. In the 1970's sales were still steadily climbing and many fashion designers and stars of stage and screen came out with their own designs and styles. Sunglasses are attractive, practical, and are now available in every imaginable shape, size, and color. They are even available for infants and seniors and every age group in between. They have come a long way from bits of emerald and smoked quartz held up to the eyes to the beautiful designs we see today.