• Maryam Isa-Haslett


Sunglasses have a long and rich history but most of us see them as a modern invention designed to protect our eyes from the sun. Here are ten interesting facts that you probably didn’t know that will completely change your view on the world of sunglasses.

1. The debate on whether eyebrows should show when wearing sunglasses is unresolved. Some think it is a matter of face shape; others view the presence of eyebrows above the glass rim as unwieldy. There appears to be no right answer.

2. The Chinese of 12 Century are credited with inventing the first sunglasses, both to protect their eyes from the glare of the sun and to hide their facial expressions. The idea behind sunglasses is much older, however, with the first examples being Inuit snow goggles. These were designed to reduce the amount of eye exposed to the sun’s rays.

3. The Roman Emperor Nero is reported to have watched Gladiator fights in the Coliseum through polished emeralds.

4. British singer Elton John is well known for his love of wacky sunglasses. So much so that he even inspired the 1998 play ‘Elton John’s Glasses’. It is no surprise then that he is thought to own the largest personal collection of sunglasses in the world at around 20,000 pairs.

5. Polaroid filters offering UV protection were invented as early as 1938. Before that time, tinted lenses just reduced the glare and amount of sunlight exposure to the eye.

6. The achingly fashionable and famous Ray-ban Aviators are a product of science, not fashion. They were originally designed for the US Air Service pilots by medical equipment manufacturers Bausch and Lomb and were intended to reduce headaches and sicknes