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Fashion and Clothing

How are sunglasses made?

You probably know them, sunglasses. Those glasses especially designed to protect your eyes from excessive sunlight. They are getting cheaper. Where sunglasses were first offered for a minimum of 20 euros, you can now quickly get them for a few euros. Private label sunglasses, glasses to which your own brand can easily be linked, are also becoming increasingly popular. This is mainly because sunglasses are very easy to produce, and the raw materials that are used are also relatively cheap.

In this article we zoom in on this production process and answer the question: ‘How are sunglasses made’?

First things first, why are sunglasses so important?

Sunglasses protect your eyes from lies. Your eyes are extremely sensitive to light, and can easily be damaged by excessive exposure to light (visible – and invisible radiation). In addition to being disturbing in bright sunlight, prolonged exposure can lead to headaches or even permanent damage to the eye.

In the short term, your vision can decrease, which is also called snow blindness. Long term effects include loss of night vision or cataracts. In this case, the UV light has burned the surface of your cornea.

Sunglasses were originally invented to prevent distracting glare and to allow for more comfortable viewing in bright light. Sunglasses are made of glass or plastic with a transparent film, which weakens the sunlight, allowing you to look more calmly. The more expensive models also have special protective layers incorporated into the glass, which give your eyes even more peace of mind while watching.

Nowadays sunglasses are not only used as a functional product, but also as a fashion item. All pop stars today walk around with the latest and most luxurious sunglasses from famous brands. A development that makes the sunglasses industry very happy.

What raw materials are sunglasses made from?

When you dissect sunglasses, you get two main parts: a frame to hold the lenses, and the lenses themselves.

the lenses

Most lenses are made of colored plastic. This plastic is often made from polycarbonate. Glass is often used for glasses of higher quality.

The vast majority of lenses are made of colored plastic, such as polycarbonate. In addition to plastic, sunglasses are increasingly made of glass. Luxury brands such as Ray Ban polish the glass so that the glasses are optically accurate and do not distort images. The glass used in these lenses is scratch resistant and is made impact resistant by tempering it with various chemical treatments.


The frames of sunglasses are made of metal or plastic. Metal frames are generally a bit more expensive. These frames are made of mixtures of nickel and other metals (eg silver or copper).

Sunglasses frames are made of metal or plastic. Metal frames, especially expensive ones, are often made from mixtures of nickel and other metals such as silver. These frames have carefully designed features such as comfortable nose pads, durable hinges and flexible temples.

The design

When designing sunglasses, there are two important aspects to consider, the current fashion and the functionality of the sunglasses.

The fashion

Over the past decades, sunglasses have grown in popularity as they have turned into a high fashion item. The design of sunglasses should also reflect the core of a brand. Luxury clothing designers design custom sunglasses to promote their own distinct image. In general, these designs are not functional. They are intended to increase the fashion appeal of the eyewear.


If you look at the other side of the coin, you are looking at the functionality of sunglasses. Most sunglasses are designed for a special application. Sports glasses, for example, are designed to be worn during sporting activities. Sports enthusiasts have specific wishes that must be reflected in the design of the sunglasses. For example, sunglasses for skiers are mainly designed to counteract the reflected light of the sun on the snow.

The production method of the lenses

Coloring the lens

The lens is colored by means of dye. This dye can be added to the lenses in two primary ways:

  • Adding dye to the molten lens material before the lens is formed

  • Chemically post-coat the finished lens to achieve the desired shade

Shaping the lens

After the appropriate additives are mixed, the molten plastic or glass is then poured into a lens mold or mould. Cheap lenses are simple molds that are placed in frames. For expensive lenses, this is a little more complicated. Expensive lenses are

manufactured in a manner similar to the method used to make prescription lenses. First, the appropriate jig is placed in a lensometer, an instrument used to find the optical center of the blank.

The lens is then placed in a curve generator, which grinds out the back of the lens. Then an edge sharpener sharpens the outer edge into the mould. The bevel is placed on the edge so that the lens fits snugly into the frame.

The frame

The finished lenses are ready for mounting in spectacle frames after adding the coating. The sunglasses frames are constructed to hold the lenses in place using a tension or screw attachment. Tension is usually used in plastic frames. With this type of frame, the aperture size at the front of the frame is slightly smaller than the lens itself. In this way the lenses can be pressed into their respective openings through the front edge of the frame without falling out of the rear edge.

Metal frames often use a screw mount design because metal tends to easily warp and not hold the lenses very well.