The History of Sunglasses

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We often talk about the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect our eyes from harmful UV rays, and we enjoy donning them in a variety of styles as a fashion accessory. But have you ever wondered how sunglasses came to be?


sunglasses for kids with UV protection
Shine for Tweens

Long before sunglasses were even invented, people were using sun protection for their eyes. As far back as 2000 years ago, the Inuit people in the Arctic created glasses from flattened walrus ivory with narrow slits, Susan Smith writes. Around 800 years ago, they shared their secret for protecting the eyes from snow blindness by bringing the creation to Canada.


Sunglasses, in the modern sense, were invented in 1929 by Sam Foster, founder of the Foster Grant Company, who began selling his product in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Although the sunglasses were originally intended only for beach-goers, they quickly became popular for everyday use, especially among the rich and famous. For instance, actors and actresses began to use sunglasses to protect their eyes from the harsh lights of movie sets and to hide their identity when out and about. Soon, sunglasses were being mass produced for the general public and became a top fashion trend that has survived up to this day.


The next group to take advantage of all sunglasses had to offer was the Army Air Corps, who, in 1937, commissioned the optical firm Bausch & Lomb to create lens that would protect pilots from UV rays and the intense glare experienced at high altitudes. The company came up with special dark green sunglasses that absorbed light through the yellow spectrum, explains the Sunglasses blog.


We are thankful for all the people who have contributed to protective sunglasses over the years and who have inspired us to create sunglasses just for kids to help protect their sensitive eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Visit the Real Kids website to check out our new styles of stylish shades for kids!

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