This is how sunglasses changed the battlefield and American culture


While sunglasses today are worn to give fashion sense, they were originally created to protect the eye. The history of sunglasses goes back over two thousand years when the Inuit community created them. Although they don’t look much like the sunglasses we know today, the Inuit natives made their glasses to protect them from blinding snow during the winter. Visors were basically a cover designed for the eye and made with tiny sculpted slits to protect the eyes from the scorching sun.

The evolution of sunglasses has gone through many phases, ranging from making an opaque material to a transparent material. The Roman Empire soon adopted glasses and deliberately made theirs with precious stones. However, the Romans used the gemstone goggles to watch gladiator fights unlike the rest of the people who used them as eye protection.

A renowned optician from England known as James Ayscough was the first to come up with tinted lenses because he thought they could solve some visual impairments. Literally, he didn’t think about protecting his eyes from the sun, but in the 1800s these glasses were standardized and prescribed for people with syphilis. One of the main symptoms of the disease is sensitivity to light, including artificial light.

In the same century, the military began to wear sunglasses during various reasons. The first and most obvious is protection from the sun. Soldiers are always on the move, rain or shine, and for this reason, they need equipment and clothing that can make their tedious deployments manageable. Most of the time the soldiers have to work under the scorching sun and to protect their eyes from the harmful rays they wear sunglasses. Although sunglasses are not part of the US Army uniform, senior citizens have accepted it and now allow soldiers to wear them.

Mission Specialist James Buchlie prepares for departure from Ellington Field to Kennedy Space Center for the Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-29. Born June 20, 1945, Buchli was a mission specialist on STS-51C, STS-61A, STS-29 and STS-48. (Public domain)

Soldiers also use sunglasses to protect their eyes from the blinding snowflakes that fall on their eyelashes whenever they are in extremely cold areas. This is similar to how the Inuit used theirs in medieval times. Additionally, when deployed in windy and sandy locations, the sunglasses help protect the eyes from dust that can damage the eyes. In turn, soldiers can operate effectively without distractions. Keeping your eyes clean on the battlefield is crucial because without clear vision it can be difficult to identify or target an enemy appropriately.

Sometimes soldiers on undercover missions wear sunglasses to disguise themselves. This keeps them away from enemy eyes and allows them to patrol unnoticed. Not only soldiers of the US Army wear it, but also those of other nations. Some forces even include it in the uniform so that all soldiers can easily access it whenever needed.

A survey was conducted of soldiers who wear glasses during field missions and those who prefer not to wear sunglasses. It has been discovered that those who wear sunglasses are less likely to be injured or traumatized by the eyes. unfortunate events like the bombings because sunglasses protect their eyes. The largest percentage of those who achieved partial or total blindness was made up of those who did not wear sunglasses. This means that sunglasses are very important and soldiers should standardize their wearing. No one ever knows when the enemy will strike, and just like their armor and weapons, sunglasses should never be missing. Whether tinted or transparent, sunglasses have truly changed the battlefield and American culture.

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