Imagine soaring through the sky with the sun shining brightly, as aviators did in the past, and needing a reliable piece of eyewear to shield your eyes from the glare. This was the setting that led to the creation of the world-renowned aviator sunglasses, a timeless eyewear style that has carved its place in fashion history. Innovation has since added a twist to these iconic pieces, introducing polarized lenses to dramatically improve vision clarity and eye protection. This comprehensive guide dives deep into the intriguing history of these polarized aviator sunglasses, unveils the secrets behind their technologically advanced lenses and also provides a consumer-friendly roadmap to selecting and taking care of your very own pair.
History of Aviator Sunglasses
Origins of Aviator Sunglasses
Aviator sunglasses originated in the 1930s when they were developed by the eyewear company Bausch & Lomb. These sunglasses were specifically designed for pilots, or aviators, hence the name. The large, teardrop shape of the lenses was intended to protect the pilots’ eyes as much as possible, shielding them from damaging sunlight as well as peripheral light. The original design of aviator sunglasses had a green lens, aimed to reduce glare without obscuring vision.
Evolution of Aviator Sunglasses
Throughout the 20th century, aviator sunglasses underwent various modifications in design, style, and technology. Many different eyewear designers and manufacturers released their own versions of the aviator style, introducing a variety of lens and frame colors. However, the distinctive large, teardrop-shaped lenses remained consistent in all designs, which was an homage to the original purpose of shielding aviators’ eyes from harmful rays.
Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
The introduction of polarized lenses to aviator sunglasses marked a significant milestone in the history of this iconic eyewear. Polarization involves the use of a special filter to block intense reflected light, thereby reducing glare. This feature was particularly beneficial to pilots, as it improved visual comfort and clarity, especially while flying at high altitudes where the reflection of sunlight off clouds can be overwhelming.
Popularity of Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
Aside from pilots, polarized aviator sunglasses began to gain popularity among people involved in outdoor activities where glare reduction is of significant advantage, such as fishing and skiing. These sunglasses also found a massive market among everyday consumers, becoming a fashionable accessory adopted by both men and women.
Polarized Aviator Sunglasses in Pop Culture
Polarized aviator sunglasses firmly cemented their place in popular culture during the 1980s when they were sported by numerous movie and music celebrities. This trend continued into the 21st century and aviator sunglasses remain an iconic eyewear style to this day. Mainstream fashion quickly embraced the look, leading to numerous designer spin-offs and affordable versions being made available on the market.
Modern Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
In the ever-evolving world of fashion and technology, polarized aviator sunglasses have succeeded in maintaining their relevance. They are available in an array of colors and styles, yet still retain the distinct teardrop shape. They come with varying degrees of polarization, tailored to suit different lighting conditions and lifestyle needs. With modern advancements, these sunglasses offer features like high-grade anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings. Most impressively, some brands even manufacture frames that are biodegradable, underlining the dramatic evolution of this eyewear fashion staple since its introduction by Bausch & Lomb.
Understanding Polarized Lenses
Delving Into Polarized Lenses
With innovation shining bright in the eyewear industry, polarized lenses have emerged as an effective solution to glare produced from reflected light. Unlike traditional tinted lenses which uniformly filter all light, polarized lenses come with a specialized chemical film. This film is designed to specifically reduce the intensity of light bouncing off surfaces such as water, snow, or glass, thereby significantly enhancing visual comfort and clarity.
How do Polarized Lenses Work?
The special film on polarized lenses contains molecules that align perfectly with each other, creating microscopic vertical lines across the lens. This specific formation only allows vertical light to pass through to your eyes. Horizontal light, responsible for causing glare, gets blocked out. In this way, polarized lenses ensure a more comfortable vision by reducing eye strain and giving a clearer view without distortions.
Benefits of Polarized Lenses
For outdoor enthusiasts or anyone frequently exposed to harsh reflective light, the upgrade to polarized lenses can offer a multitude of benefits. By virtually eliminating glare, these lenses enhance visual comfort, reduce eye strain, and provide greater clarity and contrast. This makes colors appear much stronger, scenes easier to view in bright conditions, and your overall vision experience becomes more pleasant.
Polarized lenses also offer vital UV protection. While most tinted lenses can guard against harmful UVA and UVB rays, the additional polarization filters out intense glare that can potentially harm your eyes, leading to conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, or pterygium.
Polarized Aviator Sunglasses and Driving
One of the most appreciated benefits of polarized lenses rests in their application for driving. When on road, drivers often face bright reflections off the surface of other cars and the road itself. Polarized aviator sunglasses mitigate the resultant glare and make it easier to see the road clearly. This leads to safer, more comfortable drives even in intensely sunny conditions.
Outdoor Activities and Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
Apart from driving, outdoor activities like fishing, skiing, boating, and mountain biking, which often involve bright light and reflection scenarios, can greatly benefit from polarized aviator sunglasses. Not only do they cut the intense light for a clearer view, they also provide better depth and color perception.
Why Choose Polarized Aviator Sunglasses?
Apart from the functionality, aviator sunglasses have a classic and versatile design that suits virtually any face shape. With their teardrop shape and full coverage design, they provide optimum protection from UV rays not just from the front but the sides as well. Polarized aviator sunglasses therefore offer both style and ample eye protection making them a worthwhile investment.
Differentiating Polarized Lenses from Tinted Lenses
While both polarized and tinted lenses are designed to reduce brightness and protect eyes from harmful UV rays, they serve different functions. Tinted lenses reduce brightness by darkening your field of vision but do little to cut out glare. Polarized lenses, on the other hand, selectively block specific light frequencies leading to a substantial reduction in harmful glare. Though they may be pricey compared with ordinary lenses, their unique advantages make them a worthwhile investment.
In situations where you frequently confront bothersome glare, polarized aviator sunglasses offer an effective solution. These glasses not only provide critical protection, but also blend functionality with style for wearers to remain fashionable.
How to Choose Quality Polarized Aviators
Selecting the Frame Material
When you’re choosing polarized aviator sunglasses, it’s important to first look at the frame material. High-end frames are generally made from metal, namely stainless steel or titanium, or acetate, or even a blend of the two. Metal frames are lauded for their strength, durability, and light weight, allowing for comfortable wear for prolonged periods of time. Acetate frames, conversely, offer richer colors and finishes, flexibility, and exhibit superior resistance to corrosion compared to regular metal frames. Some glasses feature a composite design of metal frame with acetate ear pieces, thereby striking a balance between resilience, comfort, and aesthetic appeal.
As for the lens material, it’s essential to go for polarized lenses, especially for aviator sunglasses. Unlike regular tinted lenses, polarized lenses have a special filter that blocks horizontally oriented light to reduce glare. This makes vision clearer when you’re in bright places. They’re typically made from polycarbonate, glass, or plastic. Polycarbonate lenses are impact-resistant, making them ideal for sports and other outdoor activities. Glass lenses, while heavier, provide superior optical clarity and are more scratch-resistant than plastic or polycarbonate lenses.
Degree of Polarization
The degree of polarization is another key aspect to consider. While all polarized lenses can effectively reduce glare, the extent to which they can do so varies. A higher degree of polarization leads to better glare reduction – ideal for outdoor activities like fishing or driving. However, remember that very high polarization can sometimes make it hard to read LCD screens.
Pricing and Brand Reputation
With regard to pricing and brand reputation, these factors are often interrelated. Notably, some well-established brands command higher prices due to their commitment to quality and innovation in sunglass technology. However, it’s important not to dismiss newer and less popular brands as they may offer excellent value for money. Always read customer reviews and do research before making a decision.
Polarized Aviator Sunglasses and Style
Choosing polarized aviator sunglasses is a decision that is often greatly influenced by personal style preference. Aviator sunglasses come in a wide assortment of styles, designs, and colors. You can opt for the classic design characterized by a metal frame and green or gray lenses, or explore modern variations that offer unique frame and lens color combinations. It’s important to select a pair that harmonizes with your individual facial features, wardrobe, and personal taste. Keep in mind that the most suitable polarized aviator sunglasses should offer functionality and enhance your look.
Top Brand Recommendations
Exploring Ray-Ban’s Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
Highly recognized for pioneering the aviator style, Ray-Ban is a world-renowned eyewear brand that requires no introduction. Ray-Ban offers an impressive line of polarized aviator sunglasses that skillfully merge timeless designs with advanced technology. Its polarized lenses are designed to reduce glare, improve visual sharpness, lessen eye fatigue, and augment contrast. One of the top recommended models is the iconic “Ray-Ban RB3025 Aviator Sunglasses”. This model is equipped with polarized lenses specifically designed to mitigate glare and provide additional UV protection.
Oakley Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
Another top brand in the realm of eyewear is Oakley. Known for its innovative designs and high-grade materials, Oakley specializes in sports-oriented sunglasses. The brand’s polarized aviator sunglasses are engineered with tech-driven features that offer unsurpassed comfort and performance. One popular model to consider is the “Oakley OO4108 Tie Breaker Polarized Aviator Sunglasses”. They are crafted with a lightweight frame and high-definition optics for unmatched visual fidelity.
Maui Jim Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
For those who prioritize color, clarity, and detail, Maui Jim offers premium polarized aviator sunglasses that eliminate 99.9% of glare while enhancing color to help your eyes see more of the world. One standout model from Maui Jim is the “Maui Jim Baby Beach Aviator Sunglasses”. They combine a durable titanium frame with a relaxed, sleek design, making them perfect for every lifestyle.
SerenaFit Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
Being a rising star in the fashion industry, SerenaFit offers trendy polarized aviator sunglasses that are designed for the young and the youth-at-heart. The sunglasses feature anti-glare lenses and an ultra-light alloy frame, perfect for a day out at the beach or a town stroll. The “SerenaFit Metal Frame Cat Eye Women Sunglasses” is a model you may want to check out. This particular model has a full metal cut-out frame design that is lightweight and designed for strong impact resistance.
Randolph Engineering Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
Randolph Engineering is a brand that is deeply rooted in American heritage. Crafted by hand in the United States, their polarized aviator sunglasses offer uncompromising quality, durability, and comfort. If you prefer a military-standard pair of sunglasses, you may want to consider the “Randolph Engineering Men’s Aviator”. These glasses offer the ultimate in glare reduction, coupled with a style that never outdates.
Looking at the myriad of quality brands available, it’s clear that there are many choices when it comes to polarized aviator sunglasses. Each brand offers something unique, with variations in design, materials used, technology, and cost. No matter your lifestyle or personal tastes, there’s a pair out there for you. However, once you’ve found the perfect pair, it’s important to know how to take care of them properly.
Proper Maintenance and Care
Caring for Your Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
The first step in preserving the quality of your polarized aviator sunglasses is knowing how to clean them properly. Over time, a buildup of fingerprints, sweat, dust, and natural skin oils can fog your clear vision and could be harsh on the polarizing coating. Cleaning them regularly with a microfiber cleaning cloth, typically supplied at the point of purchase, can prevent this damage. These cloths are engineered specifically to clean eyewear without scratching or otherwise damaging the lenses.
For a more thorough clean, especially when your sunglasses are excessively dirty, using a lens cleaning solution can be beneficial. However, it’s essential only to use cleaners that are specifically designed for eyewear. Harsh chemicals and household detergents can erode the polarized coating from the lenses. Additionally, avoid using paper towels or common rags as they can scratch and damage the lens surface.
Storage of your Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
Sunglasses, like any other accessory, need proper storage to extend their lifespan. Always store your polarized aviator sunglasses in a hard case when not in use to protect them from scratches, bends, and breaks. The hard casing will provide a physical barrier against any weight or stress that could cause the frame to bend or lenses to crack. It’s advisable to invest in a high-quality sunglasses case if your sunglasses didn’t come with one.
Avoiding Exposure to Extreme Conditions
Exposing your polarized aviator sunglasses to extreme temperatures and conditions can negatively affect their structure and performance. Try not to leave your sunglasses in the car on a hot day, as extreme heat can damage the polarization on the lenses and may warp the frames. Similarly, avoid wearing your sunglasses in a pool or sea, as salty sea water or chlorinated pool water can corrode metal frames and damage the polarized coating.
Regular Adjustment And Repair For Longevity
Over time and with repetitive use, sunglasses may require small adjustments to ensure they continue to fit correctly. Many opticians provide fitting and adjustment services free of charge. Regularly checking the sunglasses for any loose screws or misalignments of the frame can help catch any potential damages before they become serious.
Even with the best care and maintenance, it’s inevitable for the polarized lenses to suffer from wear and tear over time. Many brands offer the service to replace lenses. It’s cost-effective to replace just the lenses instead of buying a new pair of polarized aviator sunglasses when they become scratched or damaged to the point of obstructing clear vision.
By following these care and maintenance methods, you can ensure the longevity of your polarized aviator sunglasses while maintaining their optimal performance.
Seeking to make an informed decision on purchasing a pair of polarized aviator sunglasses introduces you to a world of intricate lens technology, stylish designs, and meticulously thought-out materials. Knowing the history, understanding the science behind polarized lenses, and identifying what makes for a quality pair can drastically enhance your purchasing experience. Moreover, learning the right ways to maintain and care for your sunglasses can significantly extend their lifespan, providing you with years of fashionable eye protection. All things considered, these timeless eyewear pieces are more than just a style statement; they’re a testament to human ingenuity and an indispensable aid in our daily lives. Immerse yourself in the world of polarized aviator sunglasses, where style meets technology, and fashion slows for no one.