These Vision-Enhancing Sunglasses Were Developed With NASA Technology

Sunglasses as style accessories are one thing. But when it comes to protecting eyeballs, Eagle Eyes sunglasses may very well take the cake. What else would you expect from NASA-borne technology?

Compared to a typical sunglass lens, Eagle Eyes lens (right) makes scenes more vivid because harmless wavelength colors such as red, orange, yellow, and green are enhanced, and damaging rays in the blue, violet, and ultraviolet wavelengths are blocked.


Going to space is no walk in the interplanetary park. Of the many physical challenges we face in space, the harmful effects of light is one of them. Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists James B. Stephens and Dr. Charles G. Miller set out to tackle that problem in the 1980s. They were tasked with creating a material that would protect eyes from light in space as well as from the artificial radiation produced during laser work and welding. In other words: the ultimate eyeball guard.

As part of their research, Stephens and Miller looked at birds of prey. Ever wonder why high-flying birds don't need sunglasses? The eyes of certain birds contain oil that protects the eyeballs from super radiated light rays (blue, violet, ultraviolet) while letting vision-enhancing light rays (red, orange, green) through. According to Spinoff, "these oil droplets absorb short wavelength light rays which, in turn, reduce glare and provide heightened color contrast and definition for optimal visual acuity. Accordingly, birds of prey possess the ability to distinguish their targeted prey in natural surroundings and from great distances."

After a few years, the research team successfully applied their research to a protective welding curtain. Next, they figured they'd use that same tech in eyewear. It only made sense. Thus, the SunTiger lens (now Eagle Eyes Optics) was born.

Not Your Average Pair Of Frames

Today, Eagle Eyes has a full line of sunglasses that promise 100-percent elimination of harmful wavelengths and a sharp, crisp view. Remember the thing about the bird eyes? These glasses work in a similar way to enhance your vision while protecting your eyes, not just to darken everything you see. The world through Eagle Eyes lenses is tinted slightly yellow, but the images you see are higher contrast and sharper. You know, like the literal eyes of an eagle.

These frames aren't just for sunny days, either. There are different available lenses that aid the wearer while staring at a screen, in low-light settings, and while driving at night (The image of a police officer or pilot in yellow-tinted aviators may seem familiar — those are probably Eagle Eyes glasses). These things may be better described as environment glasses than sunglasses; they boast "better vision in any condition." Though this all sounds high-tech and futuristically fancy, you can get a pair of them for as little as $45.

How Sunglasses Work - Are They Damaging Your Eyes?

Written by Curiosity Staff August 10, 2017

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