We live in a world at which the pace of technology is moving so fast that it is hard to keep up. Technology has even made it to the fashion sunglasses arena thanks to some very clever minds. The question is whether or not it is making sunglasses better.
Each consumer ultimately decides whether tech-enabled sunglasses are a good thing or not. In that sense, the market will eventually decide what succeeds and what gets left on the scrap heap of nowhere. For our own entertainment purposes though, let’s look at a few of the latest technologies.
Blue Light Filtering
Sunglasses with blue light filtering are all the rage these days. In principle, they are a very good idea for protecting the eyes against constant exposure to blue light by way of our mobile devices and computer screens. But here’s a question: why do you need blue light filtering sunglasses? Sunglasses are meant to protect your eyes from the sun.
Most of us wear our sunglasses outside when we are doing things that don’t involve mobile devices. So blue light filtering lenses for indoor and work use makes sense; not so much for sunglasses.
Next on the list are technologically advanced lenses that had been custom designed for specific sports. For example, a blue tinted lens works well for cyclists by helping them better see the pavement underneath them. Glasses with a yellow tint are good for skiers and snowboarders because it helps them see the slopes better.
This technology is helpful, but it is not really new. Tinted lenses have been around for a while. Labeling tinted lenses as specialized sports sunglasses is really nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
Lenses infused with melanin are supposed to help mitigate sun damage that can lead to developing crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes later in life. If you have never heard of melanin before, it is the pigment in human skin that gives it its color. The more melanin, the darker the skin.
The technology behind these glasses is rooted in the same principle as tanning. When you spend enough time out in the sun, your skin tans. Tanning is simply the process of adding more melanin to the skin to protect against burning. Will it work for sunglasses? The jury is still out.
Yes, all sunglasses are wearable to the extent that they are worn the face. But there are new sunglasses that are classified as wearables because they have built-in technology for monitoring what you’re doing. These are smart sunglasses that can monitor your heart rate, track your speed and distance, and more.
What’s the difference between wearable shades and a wearable on your wrist? The shades display the data directly on one of the lenses so that you don’t have to look at your wrist. This is possibly distracting, but it might be pretty cool as well.
This post has barely scratched the surface of technology in the eyewear industry. According to Utah-based Olympic Eyewear, technology is nothing new for the industry. It has been part of eyewear design since Bausch & Lomb developed the first pair of aviators more than 80 years ago.
As for whether or not technology is making sunglasses better, it’s ultimately up to consumers. The one thing we can all rest assured in is the fact that technology will keep moving along and influencing just about everything we design and make. Who knows? The sunglasses of 50 years from now may be so technologically advanced that only fifth-graders will know how to operate them.