Hayden Optometric Inc.
94 N Main St Mansfield MA 02048 +1 508-339-3952
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(508) 406-9342

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Mansfield, MA


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The Evolution Of Sunglasses

Who doesn’t love sunglasses? A pair of stylish shades not only makes us more fashionable but also provides vital protection for our eyes!

Where did the idea of sunglasses begin, though? Let’s learn a little bit more about the history of sunglasses and how they came to be what they are today. Although, their past may be a bit more “shady” than you imagined!

Early Makeshift Sunglasses Protected Against Glare

The earliest sunglasses we know of date back around 2,000 years ago when the Inuit people created a type of eyewear from walrus ivory to protect against snow blindness. These shades were more of a cover for the eye with small slits carved into them so as to see but still block out the sun’s glare.

Later, the Roman emperor, Nero, watched gladiator fights through gemstones, such as emeralds. These also had the purpose of blocking out glare. An emperor can’t be expected to squint while watching fights to the death, can he?

The Chinese didn’t want to cover their eyes from the sun, however. They simply wanted to hide their emotions! Around the 12th century, Chinese judges wore quartz over their eyes so as to appear expressionless when they heard cases.

Tinted Shades Had Other Uses In Later Centuries

In the 1700s, an English optician named James Ayscough developed blue and green tinted lenses thinking they could correct some vision impairments. Protecting the eyes from the sun wasn’t his aim when developing them.

Around the 1800s, however, these tinted glasses were commonly prescribed for people with syphilis, as one of the disease’s symptoms is sensitivity to light. Interestingly enough, these glasses actually looked similar to John Lennon’s iconic round, tinted shades!

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Hollywood Stars Put Sunglasses On The Map

The first mass-produced sunglasses made to protect eyes from the sun’s rays were made by Sam Foster in 1929. Sunglasses became popular with actors and actresses of the time because of the bright lights of movie sets and flashes of cameras. Of course, the general population soon took notice and sunglasses became all the rage!

Sunglasses weren’t just meant to add to your wardrobe, however. In 1937, United States Air Force pilots adopted the classic Aviator sunglasses to protect their eyes from the bright sun and allow them to see while flying. One of the unique features of Aviator sunglasses is their drooping frame. This was meant to provide protection for the pilots even when they had to glance downward toward the plane’s instrument panels! Pretty cool, huh?

Come Explore Our Collection Of Sunglasses

We love sunglasses! They protect our eyes from harmful UV rays and always keep us in style. Not to mention they have a fascinating past! At our practice we carry only the most reliable, high-quality brands so you can have shades that last for years to come. Come check out our collection today!

A big thank you to our amazing patients!

Top image by Flickr user Peretz Partensky used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Visit Us in Mansfield, MA

Discover everything our practice has to offer in person at our Main Street location.


94 N Main St
Mansfield, MA 02048

Contact Information

Phone: 508-339-3952
Fax: +1 (508) 339-6907
  • Monday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00am - 6:30pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am - 4:00pm
  • Thursday: 9:00am - 6:30pm
  • Friday: 9:00am - 3:00pm
  • Saturday: 8:30am - 11:30am
  • Sunday: Closed
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Why Choose Hayden Optometric?

Our Brands

Our Brands

Your eyes are unique, and so is your sense of style, which is why selecting your frames and lenses is a very personal choice. Your frames should fit your sense of style, and your lenses should suit your vision needs. Hayden Optometric Inc. is proud to offer a wide variety of brands so that we can help you find the frames and lenses that best suit your needs and style.

We're Revolutionizing Eye Care

We're Revolutionizing Eye Care

Hayden Optometric wants to be a thought leader in the eye health industry. We are always dedicated to making life better for our patients. In fact, our own Dr. Joel Hayden has leveraged his knowledge as an optometrist and nutritionist to develop his own line of eye wipes and fish oil to bolster your eye health.



Dr. Hayden is also the founder of HALT Myopia; the Hayden Advanced Lens Therapy System. Designed for nearsighted kids, HALT Myopia has been called “LASIK for kids,” only without lasers, scalpels, pain, recovery, or risk of overcorrection.

Read more about HALT and other methods of myopia control.

The Future of Eye Health Technology

The Future of Eye Health Technology

We really value innovation. That’s why we rely on some of the most advanced technology available to help us examine, diagnose, and treat all of our patients. When you choose Hayden Optometric, you know you’re getting some of the most state-of-the-art equipment the industry has to offer.