People have been using sunglasses to protect the eyes for many decades now. Even before the first pair of sunglasses was created, it has been discovered that ancient people had already used some kind of eyewear many centuries ago. These early versions of the sunglasses were found in the Arctic remains of the Inuit people who had used eyewear made of wood and bone with tiny slits. These were supposedly used to prevent their eyes from being damaged by snow blindness. Interestingly, a similar kind of contraption is mentioned in the novels of Jean Auel, whose works are based largely on actual scientific research. This only goes to show that it is really very likely that the use of eyewear has actually started earlier than we had initially thought.
The earliest predecessor of the current tinted sunglasses may be traced to the early Chinese civilizations during the medieval period. However, instead of providing protection against the sun, these glasses were used by judges during court trials in order to conceal their expressions from the other individuals in the courtroom. The concept of using tinted shades to actually provide eye protection was first materialized when James Ayscough, an apprentice to an optician, created the first pair for his own personalized use. He had the idea that excessively bright light actually harms the vision. Fortunately for him, his idea caught on and eyeglass manufacturers began making tinted sunglasses on a regular basis.
All of this happened many centuries ago but it was only during the 1930s that the general public started to regard sunglasses as a real fashion accessory and not just a means to protect the eyes. The first sunglass company in the United States was established in New Jersey and from that point, there was nowhere to go but up.
During the years of the war, the government commissioned Bausch & Lomb to produce several sunglasses for the Air Force so that the pilots will be protected against the constant glare in the sky. It was also around this time that Ray Ban first came up with their signature aviator style sunglasses known for their polarized lens and stylish design. Today, the war has long been over but Ray Ban shades live on and continue to be one of the best selling sunglasses not only in the United States but all over the world.
Considering its humble beginnings, no one would have predicted that sunglasses would be enjoying the immense success that it has today. Sunglasses are now worn by all sorts of people, regardless of the age, gender, occupation or cultural background. The price varies greatly, with the cheapest ones selling for less than 5 bucks, and the more high-end brands reaching up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, expensive sunglasses do not always necessarily offer higher quality in terms of protection. While most of these branded shades do give you 100% UV protection, you can actually get the same kind of protection from cheaper glasses. It is true though, that the designs of branded sunglasses are very rarely equaled by those of less expensive versions. If you can afford to shell out hundreds of dollars on an Armani or Dior pair of sunglasses, go ahead as long as the pair you are interested in will give you the protection that you need.