Sunglasses are one of the most stylish accessories in any modern outfit. They grace magazine covers, music videos, and movies. You could say they’re the quintessential accessory for anyone trying to look cool and hip.
Their sleek role in any fashionable ensemble has been hammered in by countless Hollywood celebrities over the years. However, sunglasses are much more than a mere accessory. They’re essential protection for our eyes and our skins.
All About That Sunlight
Today, sunglasses might present different kinds of fashion statements, but their original and primary function is all about sunlight. Sunglasses reduce the incidence of glare in our everyday lives, allowing us to see more clearly in brightly-lit conditions. Different cultures have put together many types of eye-shielding devices through the ages. For instance, the Intuit used ivory covers with narrow slits to navigate snow-covered terrains. Modern sunglasses wouldn’t become widely available until the 20th century, though.
At first, sunglasses were considered a bit of a fad, popular with trendy urbanites. Their convenient features became more apparent as time went by. By the time Hollywood stars began to use them to obscure their identities from paparazzi, they’d become ubiquitous.
The UV Problem
The first generation of sunglasses solved the issue of glare, which was increasingly troublesome in glassy urban landscapes. In time, though, shades would evolve to incorporate protection from ultraviolet light. It was in 1936 that Edwin Land initially introduced polarization. Since then, polarized lenses became the norm. Today, sunglasses provide invaluable protection against harmful UV-A and UV-B radiation. In fact, modern safety standards require sunglasses to block 99% of UV-A radiation and 99.7% of UV-B.
Ultraviolet rays can be extremely harmful in the short and long term. An extended exposure can damage your cornea or the conjunctiva, a condition known as ultraviolet keratitis. Additionally, it’s associated with multiple issues, including macular degeneration and cataracts, among others.
Caring for Your Skin
All that ultraviolet radiation that sunglasses help filter out isn’t just harming your eyes. UV rays have a terrible long-term effect on your skin, and sunglasses are vital to prevent that. For example, popular sunglasses with oversized designs offer increased facial protection. While sunglasses can provide fairly decent protection from UVA, UVB, and even UVC rays, you should still use sunblock for extra shielding. Glasses can’t assist with the protection your skin needs to be safe in the long run. In particular, the skin around your eyes is sensitive to sunburns.
That’s why wraparound and oversized designs are so universal. These sunglasses not only look good but protect your most delicate skin from sun-related damage. Next time you head out, remember to wear your sunglasses!