“Are these sunglasses polarized?”

One of our favorite questions that we get asked here at the boutique is ” Are these sunglasses polarized?” Most people think polarized lenses only offer more protection from the sun but this is not the only benefit. People also think that polarization is the best for every situation, however, that is not the case. Therefore, we thought we could explain the difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses.

We have all been taught that sunglasses protect our eyes from harmful sunlight. UV light is grouped into two categories based on its wavelength: UVA and UVB. Your cornea can typically absorb all of this light, but the rays can sometimes penetrate to the lens of your eye. Prolonged exposure of sunlight can cause cataracts, macular degeneration, and even skin cancer of the eyelids. Non-polarized sunglasses provide basic protection against both vertical and horizontal UV (sunlight) rays. This protection is created by applying a ultraviolet (UV) coating to the lenses which in turn absorbs the UV wavelengths, instead of your eyes. Most UV coatings protect your eyes from almost 100% of these UV rays.  However, they don’t diminish the glare from the reflected horizontal rays. This is where polarization comes into play.

Sunlight reflected from a horizontal surface, like land, water or hoods of cars is often reflected back horizontally, producing a very strong glare. For us, it means that ground reflections cause a lot of interference with our vision on water or pavement. Have you ever been stunned by glare on a sunny day after a snow storm? Polarized lenses have a unique chemical film coating that helps eliminate or reduce glare from these reflected horizontal rays. This film would be structured similar to venetian blinds placed at the perfect angle. The benefits of the polarized film is most noticeable when boating or fishing, since you can suddenly see through the water’s surface, which was previously clouded by the reflections from the sun and sky above. By eliminating most glare it increases visual comfort by reducing eyestrain. This helps to make your viewing experiences more comfortable.

Polarized lenses protect your eyes from harmful sunlight rays as well as reduces glare in order to help with eye comfort. In most cases, people notice their vision is enhanced with polarized sunglasses. However, there are a few situations in which polarized sunglasses are not the most ideal. Pilots are unable to wear polarized sunglasses while flying a plane due to the visual distortion it can cause on screens and other equipment.

The Interesting History of Sunglasses

The history of sunglasses dates back to Ancient Rome, where sources say that Emperor Nero used polished gems to watch gladiator fights and in China where sunglasses started to be used in the 12th century. In China, sunglasses were used in court when interrogating witnesses in order to hide people’s expressions. The lenses were made out of smokey quartz. They did not have any technology to correct sight or to protect against harmful UV rays.

Experiments on tinted lenses began in the 18th century when James Ayscough thought that blue or green tinted lenses could improve vision problems. Back then, people were not concerned by the sun’s damaging effects. In the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, yellow (amber) and brown tinted glasses were prescribed to people with syphilis since they experienced sensitivity to light.

Sunglasses were initially sold off the Atlantic City boardwalk by Sam Foster. They quickly became a popular item among the rich and famous. Actors and actresses were quick to adopt the lenses as a means to protect their eyes from the near-blinding lights that were featured on movie sets of the time. Off the screen, they found the sunglasses useful for concealing their identities while out in public. Eventually, popularity of sunglasses increased through the general public, and people made use of the fashionable item for all types of recreation.

In 1937, when United States Air-Force pilots needed eye protection from the bright sun, they adopted the now-infamous Aviator style of sunglasses created by start-up company Ray-Ban. The Aviator glasses not only were protective against harmful ultra-violet rays, but quickly became a fashion staple during, and after the World War II era. Ray Ban wasn’t finished exclusively with the Aviator, they innovated unique plastic molding technology in the 50’s to manufacture the Wayfarer, their other iconic style. Plastic molding technology made manufacturing sunglasses easy and affordable, and allowed sunglasses to be reasonably priced and easy to access for the general public. Today, Aviators and Wayfarers are still popular and most sunglasses take inspiration from them.

Polarized sunglasses first became available in 1936, when Edwin H. Land began using his patented Polaroid filter when making sunglasses.

Since their invention, celebrities have always been on the fore-front of sunglass trends, and sunglasses have become synonymous with Hollywood actors and actresses. In the 60’s, Bob Dylan and Audrey Hepburn were among the early adopters of Wayfarer styled sunglasses, and many 1970’s and 1980’s stars brought aviators back into fashion. Today, many celebrities have their own lines of designer sunglasses, and many of the top brands claim to have their sunglasses worn by the current pop stars.

While sunglass trends vary year to year, classic sunglasses such as Aviators and Wayfarers styles are always appropriate. While sunglasses can be purchased for very low prices, most people prefer high quality designer sunglasses these days because they promise a trendy look, polarized lenses, clear optics, and durable frames. The future seems bright with the new technology coming out for sunglasses as well as eyeglasses. There are few products that may change how we view eyewear including Apple Smart glasses, Vue glasses and Intel’s new Smart glasses. They are intergrading our advanced technology with cell phones and out ever evolving eyewear industry. Here are a couple videos that explain in more detail what these products can do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV92KpFaoR8 Vue Glasses

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRyxDsOQhBQ Apple Smart Glasses

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnfwClgheF0 Intel’s New Smart Glasses

Ending of 2017!

There is a lot we would like to reflect on now that Sol Sunwear’s first year has come to a close.  It wasn’t about how many sunglasses we sold or how many likes we got on Instagram or Facebook.  Rather, we believe that it was more about forming relationships with our customers and getting involved with the community. That being said, we will put the knowledge we have gained to good use in order to appeal to the community and our customer base even more! We are thinking about bringing in a new line and possibly expanding the collections of some of our favorite brands.

It was so inspiring to see how the community of Portsmouth works and interacts together. From the special day events for kids, to the nightlife for adults and the concerts at Prescott Park meant for all ages. We could easily see now why Portsmouth is such a tight knit community. We look forward to being a part of this community for many years to come.

Now,  to talk about our customers… We appreciate you all so much. You have made this opening year so special for us! We have such an eclectic customer base ranging from high fashion lovers to practical, outdoorsy people. We found that if we dig deep enough in our collection we most likely would have the perfect frame for each customer. What we have learned from our customers this year is that picking out the perfect pair of sunglasses is a very intimate process. We want to thank all of you for trusting us in our ability to help you find the perfect pair of shades this year. We also want to thank all of you for the lessons you taught us and the support you have given us. Our ribbon cutting will be held in June and we welcome all of you to join us. Happy New Year and lots of love.

From,

Sol Sunwear