Sunglasses: How They Came To Be

It is impossible to do without men’s sunglasses in Australia as it is a staple in places with tropical climates. They do not just look fashionable but offer much-needed protection from the sun’s rays. Research suggests that UV rays could even cause blindness.

It is always exciting to look into the history of things. Want to know how sunglasses evolved to what they are today? Read on.

Snow Goggles: The Beginning

The sun goggles, which the Inuit used, are some of the first known things to protect the eyes from the sun. It was an essential tool as the light reflecting off the snow could turn out to be a blinding glare.

Carved, driftwood, ivory, bone, and antlers came together to form these things that helped cover the eyes. It had a thin slit to let the wearer see through it.

The goggles were cut to fit the face tightly. And sometimes soot was rubbed on to absorb more light. Its use goes back to over 2,000 years ago.

The Expensive Roman Ones:

Inuits were not the only set of people to come up with innovative solutions to protect the eyes. Nero, the infamous Roman emperor, used to watch gladiator fights through an inventive contraption too. He used polished gemstones that worked by reducing the glare from the sun. It was one of the most expensive and also an ineffective way to protect the eyes.

How were they put to use in the 12th Century?

In China, flat planes made of quartz that were smoke-tinted offered protective advantages. Magistrates wore it to courts. An interesting rumor is that these were used to hide expressions of the wearer rather than for preventing rays.

What about the 18th Century?

Around this time, it took a definite shape. The basic design of the eyeglasses as we know now came to be during this period. They had lenses that held together by using wires and a frame. The latter helped to hold it in place behind the ear.

James Ayscough is regarded as the founder of colored lenses. He thought they were an ingenious solution to further help with vision impairments. He conducted experiments with green and blue-tinted glass to improve eyesight. He could never have guessed how his idea would impact the world of fashion later.

The Era of the Modern Sunglasses:

The first time that lenses were used to protect the wearer from sunlight was during the 20th century. Around this time, brown and yellow-tinted glasses were prescribed by doctors to syphilis patients. Because the disease caused the person to become hypersensitive to light, and wearing tinted glasses eased the discomfort.

It was not until later that sunglasses broke out of the prescription realm into the fashion arena. Rather than being seen as a symbol of poor health, it became renowned as a fashion icon.

It was the 1920s that truly helped bring about an image change for men’s sunglasses in Australia. It was when the celebrities and famous actors started sporting them on a day-to-day basis. It not only shielded their eyes but also hid their eyes. During those days, they would get red-eye due to the bright lamps used in the studio.

Celebrities Helped Make it a Trend:

Culture is indeed dictated, for the most part, by what celebrities do. They have an immense fan following which tries to imitate their beloved stars. In the year 1937, there was a record sale of 20 million sunglasses, and the reason was not to protect their eyes from the sun but rather for their fashion appeal.


So to sum it up, do not forget those sunglasses and hats while stepping into the sun. Flaunt those looks and stay safe from the sun while doing it.

Alison Lurie is a farmer of words in the field of creativity. She is an experienced independent content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry.  She is a multi-niche content chef who loves cooking new things