Sunglasses may be a key part of our wardrobe today, but they haven’t always been worn to protect eyes from the sun or as a fashion statement, for that matter.
In fact, tinted eyewear was first worn in the 12th century by Chinese judges, according to Vision Source. They were meant to hide their eyes in court so that no one could read their facial expressions. Pretty clever, huh?
As you can see, sunglasses have a long history, and there’s a lot of things that you don’t know about an accessory you wear likely almost every single day.
Here are 8 more quick facts about sunnies that will have you thinking differently about those shades that shield you from the sun.
- The Polaroid camera and polarized lenses were invented by the same person. Vision Source reports that Edwin H. Land, the man who founded the Polaroid camera also invented the polarized lenses that were used in sunglasses, plane windows and more.
- Glasses weren’t given sidepieces until 1730. Before then, loops of ribbon that went around the ears held the eyepieces in place.
- Different lens colors don’t add more protection from the sun. Any colored lens that protects against UVA and UVB rays will do.
- There’s an entire day devoted to celebrating sunglasses. June 27th is National Sunglasses Day!
- All sunglasses don’t offer UV protection. You have to look for it to specifically say that it offers UV protection to make sure you’re actually protecting your eyes from the sun’s rays.
- Elton John is thought to have the largest sunglasses collection in the world, owning over 20,000 pairs.
- Lenses with UV protection weren’t invented until 1936.
- Aviators weren’t designed to be a fashion statement, even though they became one. They were originally worn by US Air Service pilots to help reduce the glare while flying.
There’s a lot more history and science behind your favorite summertime accessory than you ever thought!