Sunglasses, they're something everyone takes for granted until that day you forget to bring them to the beach, or you're driving west into a sunset. The small accessories have only been around since the beginning of the 20th century, but they have become essential for people both as a fashion item, and as a visual aid. Sunglasses are like regular glasses and consist of a frame with two lenses inside of them; these lenses are tinted and in some cases polarized. For people with poor eyesight, prescription sunglasses are available which magnify while still providing shade from the sun giving a clear and shaded view.
The practical use of sunglasses is to shield the eyes of the wearer from ultra violet rays that come from the sun; these UV rays damage the eyes and are known to cause cataracts. Many people are also prone to wearing sunglasses while driving since it is known to reduce the amount of glare and can help with road perception. It is even rumored that sunglasses may help the body respond to jet lag better because it tricks the mind as to what time of day it is.
In popular culture today, sunglasses have become something of a status symbol as well as functional. Many celebrities wear large sunglasses to hide their entire face from the public so they can go unnoticed in many places. This trend helped create a fashion industry for sunglasses, and the prices can range anywhere from five dollars at a convenience store, to a thousand dollars for a pair of designer brand sunglasses.
Regardless of how or why people decide to wear sunglasses, it is clear that they are here to stay. Our eyes have become accustomed to the protection they receive from bright lights and glares that are so present in our society.