Stories about the Roman emperor Nero include the fact that he used to enjoy watching gladiator fights through polished gems to alter the color of the battles and distort the images. While it would be hard to say that those gems were the first sunglasses that anyone ever used, they might have been an early predecessor to the polarized replacement lenses that many people need today when they break their sunglasses. And though Romans most certainly had no idea how polarized lenses filter UV rays, Nero might have been more of a trend setter than people realize.
In part because of certain struggles during the Second World War, Ray Ban developed aviator style sunglasses for the Air Force that had anti-glare abilities. Their popularity certainly gained a bit of a boost in the 80’s, particularly after Maverick and Goose wore them with style in Top Gun, and today UV filtering lenses that make it easier to see in the sunshine are everywhere. Though lots of people might not completely understand how do polarized sunglass lenses work, many Americans wear them to make it easier to drive or so that they don’t have to worry about squinting all day.
Last year, the vision care industry in the United States generated more than more than $34 billion, despite the fact that lots of Americans don’t understand how polarized lenses filter UV rays. Undoubtedly, much of that number came from adults who either needed a new pair of shades or just wanted to find Ray Ban replacement lenses for their favorite aviators. But, reports have shown that just under 60% of adults make their kids wear sunglasses to not only help them look cool on the playground, but keep their eyes protected from the sun. As a result, much of the industry is made up for by kids and their parents.
The constant innovations and developments in the vision care industry help to make sure that new sunglass lens replacements and other products are better than the items that they are replacing. Plus, the new glasses available today do way more than just block the sun. In 2005, Oakley invented Razrwire, which featured a built-in wireless headphone set. New innovations like that make sunglasses a cool and functional addition to every wardrobe.
For the most part, a lot of the science behind how polarized lenses filter UV rays is technical, and the average consumer won’t care all that much. However, anyone who is interested in learning more can do so online. Doing a bit of research online by visiting sites of major brands like Oakley and Ray Ban and retailers like The Sunglass Fix can help answer any complex questions.