Sunglasses - let me see your eyes.

Since the 1940s sunglasses have been popular as a fashion accessory.

Ray-Ban Sunglasses

Sunglasses or sun glasses are protective eyewear designed primarily to prevent bright sunlight and high-energy visible light from damaging or discomforting the eyes.   When we say that they are “protective” please understand that this does not mean that they are shatter proof.  Consumers can find shatter proof sunglasses, but it is important to understand that they are not all protective in that manner.  Sunglasses offer some protection in regard to the brightness of the sun.   

Eyewear consists of items and accessories worn on or over the eyes, for fashion or adornment, protection against the environment, and to improve or enhance visual acuity.  Common forms of eyewear include glasses (also called eyeglasses or spectacles), sunglasses, and contact lenses. Eyewear can also include more utilitarian forms of eye protection, such as goggles. Conversely, blindfolds are a form of eyewear used to block vision for a variety of purposes.

Seasonally sunglasses are popular in the summer, but they are worn year round.  In addition to being helpful in the summer at the beach, they also are helpful in the winter cutting down the glare of the sun off the snow.  Sun glasses are worn at all times of the year for outdoor daytime activities.

There are numerous words used around the world to describe eyewear with darkened lenses.  Below are a few of the formal terms and slang words used in different regions.

Shades is a term used in North America.

Glares is a term popular in India if the glass is dark.

Glints is a term for glasses originating from the "glint" that is noticeable when somebody wearing glasses moves their head.

Sun spectacles is a term used by some opticians. 

Spekkies is a term used predominantly in southern Australia.

Sun specs (sunspecs) is the shortened form of sun spectacles.

Sun-shades can also refer to the sun-shading eyepiece-type, although the term is not exclusive to these. Also in use is the derivative abbreviation, shades.

Dark glasses generic term in common usage.

Sunnies is Australian, South African, UK and New Zealand slang.

Smoked spectacles usually refers to the darkened eyepieces worn by blind people.

Solar shields usually refers to models of sunglasses with very large lenses.

Stunna shades Used as a slang term in the hyphy movement, usually referring to sunglasses with oversized lenses.

Glecks is Scottish slang for glasses or sunglasses.

Cooling glasses is a term used in Southern India (predominantly Kerala) and the Middle East for sunglasses.

Why should people wear sunglasses?

We wear sun glasses because they make us look very cool.  But that is not the only reason.

Sunglasses can improve visual comfort and visual clarity by protecting the eye from glare. 

The American Optometric Association recommends sunglasses whenever a person is in the sun.  The goal is to protect the eyes from ultraviolet radiation (UV) and blue light, which can cause several serious eye problems.

The use of sun protective eyewear is often mandatory immediately after some surgical procedures such as LASIK.   

Why do celebrities wear sunglasses?

Sunglasses have long been associated with celebrities such as musicians, film actors, professional athletes, and reality TV stars, etc.  They wear this type of eyewear primarily from a desire to mask their identity.  This trick obviously does not always work.  As a matter of fact, it probably “rarely” works.  However, if the celeb couples the sunglasses, with a hoodie, they may be able to fool some of the paparazzi.

Can sunglasses help catch fish?

The lenses of polarized sunglasses reduce glare reflected at some angles off shiny non-metallic surfaces such as water.  They allow wearers to see into water when only surface glare would otherwise be seen, and eliminate glare from a road surface when driving into the sun.  This could be a beneficial tool when fishing.  We make no promises, but seeing into the water may help you catch more fish.  By the way, if you plan on going fishing, you may also want to learn about fishing vests

Types of sunglasses:

Aviator sunglasses The design was introduced in 1936 by Bausch & Lomb for issue to U.S. military aviators.  This style feature oversize teardrop-shaped lenses and a thin metal frame.  As a fashion statement, aviator sunglasses are often made in mirrored, colored, and wrap-around styles.  The model first gained popularity in the 1940s when Douglas MacArthur was seen sporting a pair at the Pacific Theatre.  However, it was in the late 1960s when the frames became widely used with the rise of the hippie counterculture, which preferred large metallic sunglasses. The brand became an icon of the 1970s, worn by Paul McCartney and Freddie Mercury among others, and was also used as prescription eyeglasses.

Aviator Sunglasses

Oversized sunglasses The singer Elton John sometimes wore oversized sunglasses on stage in the mid-1970s as part of his Captain Fantastic act.  Onassis glasses or "Jackie O's" are very large sunglasses worn by women. This style of sunglasses is said to mimic the kind most famously worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the 1960s.

Oversized Sunglasses

Shutter Shades were invented in the late 1940s, became a fad in the early 1980s and has experienced a revival in the early-to-mid 2010s. Instead of tinted lenses, they decrease sun exposure by means of a set of parallel, horizontal shutters (like a small window shutter).

Wayfarer (Original Ray-Ban Wayfarer) The Ray-Ban Wayfarer is a (mostly) plastic-framed design for sunglasses produced by the Ray-Ban company.  Introduced in 1952, the trapezoidal lenses are wider at the top than the bottom (inspired by the Browline eyeglasses popular at the time), and were famously worn by James Dean, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, The Beatles and other actors and singers. The original frames were black; frames in many different colors were later introduced. There is often a silver piece on the corners as well.

Wrap-arounds are a style of sunglasses characterized by being strongly curved, to wrap around the face.  They may have a single curved semi-circular lens that covers both eyes and much of the same area of the face covered by protective goggles, usually with a minimal plastic frame and single piece of plastic serving as a nosepiece. Glasses described as wraparound may alternatively have two lenses, but again with a strongly curved frame.  These were first made in the 1960s as variants of the Aviator model, used by Yoko Ono and Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry films.

Gradient lenses go from a darker shade at the top to a lighter one at the bottom, so there will be more protection from sunlight the higher one looks through the lens, but the lower one looks through the lens, the less protection is offered.  Gradients should not be confused with bifocals and progressive lenses.  Those are different.  Bifocals are eyeglasses with two distinct optical powers.  Bifocals are commonly prescribed to people with presbyopia who also require a correction for myopia, hyperopia, and/or astigmatism.  Gradient lenses are regarding the color not the optical power.

Double gradient lenses are dark at the top, light in the middle and dark at the bottom. 

Flip-up sunglasses add the benefits of sunglasses to corrective eyeglasses, allowing the wearer to flip up the tinted lenses for indoor use.  An alternative are clip-on glasses. 

Clip-on glasses are a form of tinted glasses that can be clipped on to eyeglasses for protection from the Sun.  An alternative are flip-up glasses. 

Mirrored lenses, having a metallic, partially reflective coating on the outer surface, combined with a tinted glass lens, are an alternative to polarization for UV protection, improving contrast when depth perception is important such as seeing moguls and ice while skiing or snowboarding. The mirrored lens reflects glare to protect the eyes, but improves the ability to see contrasts, and mirrored lenses of different colors can expand the range of fashion styles.  Some people enjoy wearing mirrored lenses because other people can’t see your eyes when wearing this type of eyewear.  Police officers have been known to often wear these types of lenses. 

We hope that this page has helped you learn about sunglasses.  Sure, you already knew what they were, but maybe you now know a little more.

Sunglass Standards:

Standards change from time to time, so we are not going to list much on this topic.  We suggest you do further research if you are a consumer, designer, or manufacturer of sunglasses.  Below is some information to help start your research, but keep in mind that these standard numbers may have changed since the time we posted this information.  Consult with those organizations directly.

The Australian Standard is AS/NZS 1067:2003 Sunglasses and fashion spectacles.

The European standard EN 1836:2005  

Sunglasses sold in the United States are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and are required to conform to safety standards. The U.S. standard is ANSI Z80.3-2001, which includes three transmittance categories.

Do people look better in sunglasses?

We are not sure if everyone looks better in sunglasses, but we do know that you will look fabulous in your sunglasses if we look at you thru our rose colored glasses.  By the way, if you are not familiar with that term, rose-colored glasses means a cheerful or optimistic view of things.  For example, “the trendy fashionista saw life through rose-colored glasses”.

Here are a few links that may be of interest to you:

Polarized Sunglasses

Fashion Eyewear



Sunglasses Blog

Women's Designer Sunglasses

If you are planning on being out in the sun, you may want to also wear a sun hat to keep your face & eyes shaded.

Eyewear can be trendy and helps with any outfit. Learn about other fashion accessories to help you stand out from the crowd.

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