June 27- Sunglasses Day

In the summer months, we pull out our sunglasses to protect our eyes from those harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, sunglasses didn’t begin their life to protect us from UV rays.

Early “sunglasses” were nothing more than polished gems. Nero, a Roman emperor, watched gladiator fights through these gems.

Early models of sunglasses can be traced back to twelfth century China. They were made out of flat panes of smoky quartz. These sunglasses weren’t used to protect from UV rays, instead they helped reduce glare.

During the eighteen century, James Ayscough modified sunglasses by using colored lenses in an attempt to correct vision. He thought blue and green tints would help the eyes see better. Ayscough’s sunglasses didn’t protect the wearer from UV rays. At the time, it was not common knowledge that the sun’s ray could be harmful.

In 1929, Sam Foster would design sunglasses to protect the wearer from UV rays. He sold his new design on the beaches in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Edwin H. Land improved Foster’s lenses by making them polarized in 1936. Polarized lenses help to reduce glare. Polarized lenses are used in sunglasses today which help eliminate the reflection off water, the hood of a car, and liquid crystal displays (LCD) as found on ATMs. However, polarized lens can make it hard to read certain LCD displays such as the one on your phone.

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