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'Shades' B Cool

Updated on July 23, 2013

Shades 'B' Cool

by JR Hager II
by JR Hager II

Our sunglasses, whatever other name we’ve given them since their arrival on the scene way back in ... 12th Century China; have done the same thing for us then as they do now; they make us look cool. And , oh yea, they tint the sun’s rays from our eyes, in those squinting times we need them. But hey, uh, I hate to pee on your picnic, uh, they block out more than just the brightness. And more of what we need, man.

But ‘C O O L’ is why we really wear them. They have become a symbol more than a necessity, unless of course you’re a cop, do a lot of driving, a trucker, life guard or beach reader, skier or snow trekker, or a movie star, or blind; the colored specs are for show. Nothing else. Were you born with them? Well, they are good for hiding our blood-shot eyes, but other than that, their true function has gotten lost in the shadows. These days fashion rules, rocks and runs the show.

My  Y o u T u b e  Channel

Not only can one purchase any color tint they desire and how dark....

.... the design can be altered to please the most finicky of buyers. The sky is the limit. One can have their initials engraved in them, or wear a design that has a logo already on their pair. Imagine that; wearing another persons name on your face. Doing their advertising for them, not getting payed for it, but still feeling ‘cool,’ and still feeling this way after paying the exorbitant price for them. Who is cool?

The most expensive pair of sunglasses I found was ...€5,000.00EUR for this pair: well, I’ll just name the price here, wouldn’t want to advertise their ass in any way. They do enough harm. Damn, look at all these sunglasses advertisements framing my HUB. Much good my not mentioning them did. Told ya fashion rules, and it doesn't matter in the slightest what health issues there are concerning their product.

Oh, I don't know ....

..... maybe it’s all in the price, disguised as fashion? And that’s what the customer is saying, “I spent this much.” and could care less how bright it is outside. They will make it part of their ritual, their being on this earth, to wear their shades when ever possible. In their waking hours; no matter how many pieces of furniture they bump into on the way out the door. Or how many ‘near-misses’ on the way to work. And so cool are they, if they make it to work, they'll ware them all the way to their desk, their tee shirt printer, their cubical or work area, what ever they do. Some so bold and brimming in their coolness, will slide their shades to the top of their heads and wear them this way till lunch break. But these people, and I was one of them, are really more of what rhymes with ‘cool.’ And it’s far more important then the mere cash that they lost buying into this idea of cool.

Brief history of our shades, man

Tales of "sun cheaters", among other unusual names, were spoken of back in the time of the Roman Empire, when the Emperor would cover his eyes with bits of emerald to help shade the sun from his vision.

Sometime in 12th Century China, the first sunglasses were a crude slab of smoked quartz that was made for only the very rich. The quartz slab soon progressed to a slab with a roughly shaped frame to help hold the quartz to the users face. Not only were these handy items used to block out the sun but they were also used to hide emotions from others when speaking with them. This was particularly handy for judges of that time, giving them an air of detachment from the topic being discussed as well as keeping their feelings hidden while questioning the accused.

As time went on, so did the progression of the appearance of sunglasses. Circa 1400, sunglasses were darkened and introduced into Italy via the Chinese. In the 18th century a man named James Ayscough was experimenting with sunglasses but not to help keep out the sun's rays but to help with improving vision for those with poor or failing eye sight. He believed that by changing the color of the lenses to a blue/green tint, he could help correct certain vision conditions.

Sunglasses did not become popular until the early 1920's, when the stars and starlets of Hollywood began using them to shield their eyes from the stage lights and the cameras' blinding flashbulbs. Mass production of sunglasses came about in the late 1920's, when a man named Sam Foster started his company, Foster Grant, in Atlantic City where the beach goers were a steady stream of sunglasses sales.

The Army Air Corps were at the forefront of sunglasses development when they approached an optical firm by the name of Bausch and Lomb to create effective eyeglasses to protect pilots from high altitude glare. In the mid 1930's Polaroid filters had been invented by Edwin H. Land (founder of the Polaroid Corporation). By the late 1930's when World War II was on the brink of exploding, anti-glare aviator glasses were being made for the fliers and a year later the same sunglasses technology was available for the general public.

By the 1960's, sunglasses rose in popularity as a stunning fashion statement. In the 1970's sales were still steadily climbing and many fashion designers and stars of stage and screen came out with their own designs and styles. Sunglasses are attractive, practical, and are now available in every imaginable shape, size, and color. They are even available for infants and seniors and every age group in between. They have come a long way from bits of emerald and smoked quartz held up to the eyes to the beautiful designs we see today.

But the main difference ...

....between our shades and the shades of yesteryear, besides all the colors, the fancy plastic designs and who wears them, a difference, a change I was led to believe was a good one and a benefit to society, is the advent of lenses capable of blocking out certain rays of the sun. Namely the UV rays.

And everybody knows, have been advertised and prescribed to death with this information; that these rays are very harmful. Even the makers of sun-block lotions have joined the mad dash of frenzied proportions and altered their ointment to keep out this evil ray. Parents are covering their kids with the stuff, even if they aren’t on the way to the beach. (oh my, I just thought of another hub. ‘Sunscreen ... what else it blocks out!

A favorite limerick of mine : )one of the few nice ones)

There once was a Big Pharma zealot
More offensive than insect repellent.
He just couldn't see
What's in vitamin D,
"It's utterly useless, unless we can sell it."

Here we go again - New research reveals an astonishingly high rate of vitamin D deficiency across U.S. children and teens. It's all part of Big Pharma big plan, of course -- keep the people nutritionally ignorant (keep 'em coming back for more medicine).

Need I remind you ...

....fellow earthling, the sun is there for a reason. Us, we are the reason. Without it’s rays upon us, all it’s rays, we would not exist. Who do we think we are, how pompous can we get in order to question it.There would be no ‘us’ in the scheme of things. It is no wonder it is worshiped along with the moon; the two of them have been hanging in the sky for us long before any thought of religion could seep in. Not only does it grow our food and give us vitamins to live, it also heals us.

My friend sent me a book by John Nash Ott. called Health & Light: the effects of natural & artificial light on man & other living things, it, without doubt blew me away. It is the most fascinating book I have ever read. And to think he didn't even know I was writing a HUB on the subject.

John Ott DSc, I found, was a pioneer in time-lapse photography in the middle of the twentieth century. Many of the Disney films we saw of plants growing and flowers blooming were made by Ott. To enable him to take photographs of plants at a rate of one every few minutes, hours or days, Ott had to stop the plants from being blown about by the wind and be disturbed, so he put his subjects in glasshouses. However, he found, when he did this, that they did not behave as they did outside.

So Ott began to conduct experiments changing the lighting conditions, the temperature and humidity in an attempt to isolate the cause of the problems. What he found was that where the glass cut out the long-wave ultraviolet (UV) spectrum of the sun's light, had severely detrimental effects on the plants.

One of the doctors experiment, one that he hadn't planned on, had a dramatic effect on his thinking. This happened early in his career when Ott dropped and broke his prescription glasses - and all symptoms of his arthritis disappeared. After this, Ott concluded that the full spectrum light's effect happened not from its impact on the skin, but through the eyes.

Health & Light continues with many more experiments on plants, animals and, lastly, humans. Ott discusses experiments which showed that sunlight absorbed through the eyes had dramatic effects on the pineal gland. It is these which are of the greatest significance as far as cancer is concerned.

Our irrational fear

Ott made a valid point in his last book, Light, Radiation and You: How to Stay Healthy, "Mankind adapted to the full range of the solar spectrum, and artificial distortions of that spectrum - malillumination, a condition similar to malnutrition - may have biologic effects". In a 1991 interview he noted: "There are neurochemical channels from the retina to the pineal and pituitary glands, the master glands of the whole endocrine system that controls the production and release of hormones. This regulates your body chemistry and its growth. That means all organs of your body, including your brain, and how they function".

He goes on to say, "Nature designed us so that the tanning pigment, melanin, in our skin was the right shade to protect us from the sunlight: black in equatorial regions, gradually getting lighter in colour as we get further from the equator and the strength of the sun diminishes. Our skin is designed specifically for the latitude at which we have evolved."

"The same is true of our eyes - the different color irises are the most obvious feature. Again they are black at the equator and pale blue in Scandinavia. In other words, we do not need the 'protection' afforded by sunglasses, we need the sunlight that we have evolved in."

"There are three distinct bands of UV light: UVA, UVB and UVC. Excessive exposure to just one of them, UVC, the shortest wavelength, is known to damage living tissue. It is this wavelength that is used to kill bacteria. In a laboratory experiment, anesthetized animals, had their eyes held open and intense UV light was shone into them, damaging their retinas. That's it! On the strength of this, authorities conclude that we should avoid all UV. In fact, we need the trace amounts of UV radiation in natural daylight for physical and mental health, civilized behavior, muscle strength, energy and learning."

"Despite what we are led to believe about sunlight, cancers don't seem to survive for long in it. In one experiment, a tumor-susceptible strain of mice lived more than twice as long under full-spectrum light as they did under standard lighting, and rats exposed to full-spectrum light had significantly lessened tumor development."

Excerpts from his Book:

Dr Jane C Wright, directing cancer research at Bellevue Memorial Medical Center in New York City in 1959, was fascinated by Ott's ideas. Advised by Ott, Dr Wright instructed fifteen cancer patients to stay outdoors as much as possible that summer in natural sunlight without wearing their glasses, and particularly without sunglasses. By that Autumn, the tumors in 14 of 15 had not grown, and some patients had got better. Ott wondered why the fifteenth had not benefited. He discovered that this woman had not fully understood the instructions - while she had not worn sunglasses, she had continued to wear her prescription glasses. This blocking of UV into her eyes was enough to stop the benefits enjoyed by the other fourteen.

UV benefits leukemia

In 1961, with five times the national average incidence, an elementary school in Niles, Illinois, was found to have the highest rate of leukemia of any school in the USA. Because of the intense glare from the sun, in the newly-constructed building in which glass had been used extensively, the teachers in two of the classrooms kept the blinds drawn and the children were exposed all day only to 'warm-white' fluorescent light. All of the children with leukemia were being taught in these two classrooms. After several years of keeping the blinds drawn and the fluorescent lights on, the teachers in these two classrooms left and were replaced with teachers who preferred to let the sunlight in. At the same time, the warm-white fluorescents were replaced with cool-white lights. From 1964, the time of Ott's last visit, there were no further cases of leukemia reported in that school. (8)

After one of his lectures, Ott sat next to the daughter of the late Dr Albert Schweizer at dinner. They talked mainly about her experiences as assistant to her father at Lambarene, Gabon, on the West Coast of Africa. Ott asked her about the rate of cancer in the people of that area. She replied that, when her father had first started hospital, they found no cancer at all but now it was a problem. Ott asked her if the people living there had started installing glass windows and electric lights. She said they had not.

Ott then asked her jokingly if any of the natives wore sunglasses. She looked startled and told Ott that the natives paddling their dugout canoes down the river in front of the hospital often wore no more than a loincloth and sunglasses; indeed some wore only sunglasses. She explained that sunglasses represented a status symbol of civilisation and education and had a higher bartering value than beads and other such trinkets.

In another case, Ott learned from an elderly acquaintance that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the prostate and surgery had been recommended. Ott found that for many years this man had been wearing eyeglasses with a light pink tint and was able to persuade him to stop wearing those and get full spectrum, ultraviolet transmitting spectacles. Ott also advised him to cut down watching television and spend more time outdoors. At the time of writing his book, Ott reports that the man has gone three years without surgery and with no symptoms of his prostate cancer

A doctor, interested in Ott's research told him of a close friend of his who had been diagnosed as having a fast spreading terminal cancer. Life expectancy was only estimated to be four months at best. Although the doctor could not see how installing fluorescent tubes with added ultraviolet in the man's hospital room could do any good, he didn't see any harm in trying. Accordingly Ott helped to install the fluorescent tubes in the patient room and also install some in his room at home. This man lived a further 10 months, was remarkably active and free of pain during this time.

Yet another man had been troubled with skin cancer and on several occasions had undergone minor surgery. He was having considerable difficulty and his doctor had recommended more surgery. On his own initiative he decided to try ultraviolet therapy and to avoid watching television. His skin cancers began to disappear immediately, and within for five months his skin appeared perfectly normal without surgery or other treatment.

Lastly, in another incidence, several cancer patients ventured out on a fishing expedition with Norwegian fishermen. All but one of them stayed inside the ship but one woman stayed on deck. She recovered; her fellow patients died of their cancers. (9)

Ott has been criticized for making no scientifically controlled human studies to support his statements. This criticism is unjustified: Ott applied many times for funds to conduct studies, but even with the backing of leading oncologists, he was continually refused them. (10) Similarly, funding for continuation of Dr Jane Wright's study above was withdrawn. It may sound cynical, but one has to be realistic - who can make money promoting sunlight?

OK... lots of people have lots of misconceptions here...

Glass does not have a refractive index (R.I) of 1. (Crown Glass has a R.I = 1.53) Nothing except a Vacuum (space) has a R.I. of 1; (air is close, but not 1). I think what you mean is Transmission... as in Glass has a high transmission ~ 92%.

Now to answer the question... You can most certainly get sunburn through glass (material)... As (most glass) only absorb 30% UV radiation, unless it is UV treated.

So... Here's the story on sunglasses.
Sunglasses come in 2 categories, Cosmetic and Optical... Cosmetic sunnies aren't required by law to block UV. So when you wear these sunnies, and go out into the sun, it's like you're not wearing any sunglasses at all... so the skin around your eyes, as well as the whites of your eyes get the 'normal' exposure to UV rays.

The skin around your eyes will burn as in normal skin... but the whites of you eyes (conjunctiva)... won't burn as your skin. Rather, they go red easily.. and overtime, you'll get a conjunctival 'cancer' called Pinguecula, which can continue to grow into a Pterygium, which will need surgery.



Furthemore, depending on the darkness of the sunnies, your pupil (the round window in your eye) opens up more to allow more light and hence more UV into your eyes, increasing aging of your lens and giving you a cataract..., as well as speeding up damage to your retina (light sensitive nerve at the back of your eye - although most of the damage will be at the lens level).


Now since you're talking about 'glass'... it's important to note that MOST sunglasses.. their lenses are made of PLASTIC rather than glass!!!... especially the Cosmetic ones...
Glass sunglasses, are usually high quality (and expensive)... and so it's more likely that they're of the Optical Standard, and will have UV treatments.

Lastly, your eyes are important... wear good (optical) sunnies when ever you're outdoors... and to give you a 'heads-up"... Maui Jim brand sunnies are the BEST you can get... Go out and protect your eyes from Radiation!!!


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