Sunglasses can be traced back to the 12th century when ancient Chinese and Italians designed them using smoky quartz that could dim lights. The invention of sunglasses is often very closely related to the invention of eyeglasses, which were used to correct minor eye defects.
Sunglasses were originally designed to shield our expressions from the public’s view rather than shielding our eyes from the sun. Later on, in the late 20th century, sunglasses got industrial and military applications.
Sunglasses have found their way into military applications in the new era of technological advancement. Military sunglasses are now considered an essential utility in modern warfare.
The design, materials, and technology behind sunglasses have undergone an overhaul over the centuries and are now considered an indispensable tool on the battlefield.
Since different kinds of IEDs, grenades, etc., are used in warfare, soldiers’ eyes are often exposed to all kinds of disturbances. These could cause a lot of trauma and even death in some cases.
Army units have considered these possibilities and have advised soldiers to wear military-grade sunglasses whenever on the battlefield. This has helped defense departments to reduce eye injuries over the years.
Brief History of Sunglasses and Their Military Applications
The origin of sunglasses is traced back to the 12th century Chinese. It was primarily aimed at hiding facial expressions. Judges presiding over various disputes would wear them to mask their facial expressions so no one would know their decision or response.
Thus protecting the integrity of the final verdict. However, in the modern day, sunglasses act as a tool to portray style and flatter their loved ones. Sunglasses began finding industrial and military applications in the late twentieth century.
Over the years, people who suffered from syphilis and sore eyes began using sunglasses along with industrial workers and welders. These were primarily aimed at protecting eyes from foreign particles or getting better vision.
Later, armies and defense departments worldwide began focusing on military hardware to protect soldiers. By the late 20s, the idea of using sunglasses for their troops became popular. It proved to help reduce injuries and gain better vision on the battlefield.
Features and Technology
Military sunglasses are engineered to feature advanced protection and durability to withstand harsh conditions that are on the battlefield. Unlike the publicly available ones, these often incorporate a wide range of features and technologies:
- UV Protection: Military-grade glasses are equipped with advanced ultraviolet ray protection to shield your eye from direct sunlight. These are insightful as the terrains and weather conditions change frequently.
- Ballistic Protection: Like all other military hardware, ballistic protection against shrapnels and high-velocity projectiles.
- Polarized Lens: Polarized lenses help reduce the scattering of light and thus reduce glare. This can be helpful while aiming and while you are on the lookout. Since decisions must be made quickly, staying focused is crucial. Polarizing the lens helps in staying focused and vigilant throughout your service.
- Interchangeable Lens: Since war can be fought on any terrain at any time, the adaptability of glasses is an essential factor. Unlike regular glasses, military-grade glasses have interchangeable lenses that can adapt to the surroundings; this can help in low light conditions. Glasses with night vision are becoming more popular nowadays.
- Anti-Fog Coating: This is a standard feature that has become public. Preventing fog helps in gaining better vision. It also helps avoid time wastage in clearing fog while working.
- Communication Compatibility: Communication is the key to winning any battle. Properly communicating with your teammates and staying updated on battlefield events and orders from the higher authority. Military-grade glasses often have communication devices embedded to ensure smooth two-way communication.
Significance In Modern Warfare
The significance and importance of sunglasses in warfare goes beyond protecting your eyes. With the latest technological advancements, military personnel’s operational capabilities have been enhanced using military sunglasses.
Adaptation: Military sunglasses are available in a variety of patterns with camouflage. These help military personnel blend into their surroundings and stay hidden. With the interchangeable lens, they can now easily change lenses and improve their vision within seconds, thus helping them adapt to the surroundings better.
This can come in handy if the mission objectives change mid-war. These features help them stay vigilant and focused to react quickly and swiftly to changes in their surroundings. Thus providing you with a tactical advantage.
Reduced Strain: Exposure to direct sunlight can cause fatigue; sunglasses can help you reduce strain and help you stay focused for more time. Military glasses with polarized lenses can help you reduce glare, thus reducing eye strain. This enables personnel to stay focused and alert in warfare.
Better Target Acquisition: Lenses with high contrast features can help you acquire targets in a better way. These lenses and sunglasses can help you adapt to surroundings and aid you in targeting obstacles, hazards, and navigation, especially in challenging terrains and scenarios.
Evolution and Future
The sunglasses, lenses, and eyewear have undergone drastic changes. These changes have occurred over centuries. With the latest technological advancements, researchers worldwide are experimenting by building more features onto the glasses for better usage.
As new materials and technologies are being discovered, enhancements in durability, weight, and adaptability are being made to make them more effective.
Various researchers are looking into innovative ways to identify enemies and accurately track their positions. These features can improve soldiers’ situational awareness and decision-making on the battlefield.
In modern warfare, split-second decisions can often be worth your life. Thus sparing any time spent on maintaining and adjusting position can be crucial. Modern sunglasses solved these problems and acquired an integral part of military hardware.
Defense departments and researchers worldwide spend billions of dollars making better military gear. Many of these can be attributed to improving eye gear and headgear. As the technology improves, more improvements such as heat signatures and target tracking can be expected to arrive on this military eyewear.