Don’t you just love the sun? The warmth that heats up your surroundings, but it also ruins your eyes. Thankfully, we have access to an incredible, but underappreciated, creation.
Something that protects your eyes from the smouldering ball of fire we call the sun. You all know this creation, and I guarantee you all own a pair of them, sunglasses. Sunglasses have been around since ancient China and Rome, where they used flattened walrus ivory or smoky quartz. Modern-type sunglasses were invented in 1929, by Sam Foster, who founded Foster Grant of Atlantic City. They consisted of celluloid, a plastic, which could prevent glare from the sun. Celluloid was invented as a replacement for substances like ivory and tortoiseshell. Injection molding technology is what made mass market celluloid glasses possible to produce. Sam Foster sold the first pair of Foster Grant sunglasses on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ in 1929.
They were carried at a shop called “Woolworth” and they could be purchased for a cheap $0.10 for each pair. Later on, sunglasses could be found in all over by 1930. Stars in Hollywood began to adopt this invention, and would use them as a shield for their eyes from the bright studio lights. They featured sunglasses in advertising campaigns, and the company, Foster Grant became a major part of the sunglasses history. The glasses craze magnified with well known fashion designers and their brand-name lines.
Now, you may think, “Why would Canadians need sunglasses even when it’s not summer?” Canada as you know, has very cold and white winters. Fresh white snow can reflect up to 88% of the UV rays from the sun. This is nearly double the amount of UV exposure someone should be getting. Heat or chemicals can react in eye tissue when your eyes absorb UV radiation or the sun’s visible light.
Permanent damage to the eyes can be caused by these reactions. UV rays are much stronger at higher altitudes, such as mountains and even ski hills. Skiing is a very popular sport in Canada, and it’s important to still be protected from the sun’s rays. Sunglasses don’t offer a seal around the eyes and face like ski goggles do. This can leave your eyes with a high risk for wind and ice problems, along with other hazards on the slopes.
Today, all goggles for skiing or snowboarding offer 100% protection from the 3 types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. In the end, sunglasses might be an overlooked creation. In addition to cancer, ultraviolet rays can cause severe eye problems. The cornea can become burned, or inflamed, and cataracts can be formed, clouding the lens of the eye.
Both of which can seriously impair vision. Sunglasses have greatly impacted the people of Canada, and protect them too.