Forget Zoloft and Prozac: Try the Happy Sunglasses

They don't give you directions, take photos, set reminders, or tell you how you slept, but "Happy Lenses" make you, well, happy.

Image courtesy of Spy Optics.

Most wearable tech products aim to accomplish relatively mundane tasks, like track how many steps you've taken or gauge how long you've been sleeping. Now a California firm specializing in eyewear claims its sunglasses will make you happy—and not just because they're attractive or reasonably priced (between $130 and $170). The power lies in Spy Optics' technologically advanced lenses, which leverage mood-enhancing light to boost your inner glow.

You're undoubtedly aware that the sun emits different kinds of light rays, which, for simplicity's sake, can be grouped into "bad" and "good." Invisible ultraviolet (UVA, UVB, UVC) rays are bad. UV radiation is what gives you a sunburn, but it also damages the eyes, leading to cataracts and retinal damage. Also bad for the peepers is short-wave blue light known to cause oxidative damage to the eyes and contribute to macular degeneration, a decline in vision sharpness. In the interest of eye health, you want your sunglasses to block UV rays and short-wave blue light.

But the sun isn't just some evil monster in the sky trying to blind you; it also emits "good" light in the form of long-wave blue light. Studies have shown that exposure to this type of light can increase production of the so-called feel-good hormone serotonin, improving mood, alertness, and sleep quality. You know those lights used by people afflicted with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in winter? They emit a kind of manufactured long-wave blue light. And Spy has figured out a way to craft lenses that block the bad UV and short-wave blue rays yet also let in the good long-wave blue ones.

Glasses with "happy lenses"—known as the Happy 20 Collection in honor of the company's 20th year in the business—are also really nice to look through, using state-of-the-art color contrast. What they don't do is give you directions, take photos, set reminders, or tell you how you slept. Which is just fine, if not preferred, for most of us.


Image courtesy of Spy Optics.

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