Sun Glasses: Protective Gear for a Fashionable Look

By: gisbert
Sun glasses are primarily worn to protect the eyes from the harmful effects of the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The popularity of these eyepieces started in the 1900s when silent film actors and actresses started wearing them to protect their eyes from the glare of film studio lights. They became more popular when Sam Foster mass produced the eyeglasses in the United States in 1929. Foster's glasses were sold under the brand name Foster Grant, which until now, is still one of the most popular brands of eyeglasses.

Sun glasses transcended their protective gear reputation and became a fashion trend after World War II. Consumers were attracted to wearing them as a fashion statement when pictures of American military officials, like General Douglas MacArthur, appeared in papers wearing sunglasses. The design of these glasses evolved from simply being a pair of tinted eyewear to having various colors and polarized lenses. After Edwin H. Land released his patented polarized glasses, the method of manufacturing sunglasses became more and more high tech and their designs became more inclined to attract fashion-conscious people.

Although sunglasses are presently more known as fashion accessories, their protective function is still the most important aspect of their design. The depletion of the ozone layer has created a lot of concern with regards to the increased power of the sun's rays to damage the eyes and skin. With dire warnings issued by environmental groups and government health agencies, more people are sporting sunglasses especially when they need to be outdoors. Manufacturers have taken advantage of this increased demand for protective eyewear and several models touting various protective features have been introduced in the market during the last decade.

According to scientists, excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can cause various eye diseases ranging from photokeratitis to cataracts and even age-related macular degeneration. To protect the eyes from these harmful occurrences, medical experts have recommended the use of sunglasses. The medical world's support of the use of sunglasses further elevated the market and expanded the products' consumer base. Now, not only ordinary people wear these eyepieces but also athletes and celebrities. Baseball players, golfers and skiers are the most prominent figures in sports who wear these eyepieces. It also doesn't hurt the industry that celebrities like Tom Cruise, Kanye West, Sean Combs and Bono of U2 have made wearing sunglasses fashionable even when indoors.

The increased need to protect the eyes from the sun's glare had manufacturers scrambling to offer sun glasses that provide the protection needed by consumers, and at the same time, designed to make the wearer look cool and fashionable. Manufacturers like Oakley, Ray-Ban, Eyehawk, Black Flys, Bolle and others have inundated the market with trendy, protective eyeglasses that cater to both the practical and the fashionable side of every consumer.
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