To hide where the gaze wanders when passing by. (Actually often combined with the #3 purpose. And most of them usually play poker.)
To keep track of visions in one's eyes.
Then there are times where a character wears glasses most of the time, if not all the time, even if it's impractical to do so. Sunglasses At Night is a trope where the glasses wearer is known for wearing their shades on even when it's nighttime, when they are fighting and in some occasions, when they are asleep. Most of these characters do it because of reason #2, but for others it is #3, or the whole thing is Hand Waved. Sometimes justified because the shades do something unusual. Other characters have enhanced senses, so they follow the first reason even at night. Many of the characters wouldn't be as recognizable without them.
A subtrope of Cool Shades and Useless Accessory. Compare to Sinister Shades. Named for, but mostly unrelated to, a song by Corey Hart.
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Anime and Manga
In Episode 11 of Neon Genesis Evangelion Gendo Ikari keeps his sunglasses on despite the fact that NERV is experiencing a station-wide blackout.
Rei-kun of Kodomo no Omocha wears his sunglasses wherever he goes to show his devotion to Sana-chan, who picked him up off the street when he was homeless and made him her manager. She thinks it's cool, therefore that's what he wears.
Noriaki Kakyoin from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders starts wearing sunglasses 24/7 after The Geb seriously injures his eyes and he spends several arcs recovering. He still keeps them on during the final battle. Which happens naturally at night.
Kamina of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann wore his famous orange sunglasses all the time even though he spent most of his life underground with no knowledge of the sun's existence (which makes you wonder how he even got them in the first place). However, the color of those sunglasses may imply he's wearing to help him see in the dark.
Simon sports an epic, red pair later on even though he's in outer space, in the core of a moon-sized mecha and not near any apparent natural light source.
Also, during the survival game (which takes place at night) Hanai shows up with a sunglasses, prompting several people to hang a lampshade on it. Granted, eye protection was required due to the nature of the game, but nobody said you can't just wear a visor.
7th squad lieutenant Iba Tetsuzaemon and the Vaizard Aikawa Love from Bleach.
Black Lagoon. When Mr. Chang does it, it's Badass. When Lotton the Wizard does it...not so much.
Yamaki in Digimon Tamers only has his sunglasses off for about a minute of his total screentime, if that, and is often literally wearing them at night (or indoors in a darkened room). They also function as Sinister Shades, even though he retains them after changing his mind and allying with the Tamers.
Satsuma (aka Samson) in Digimon Savers, on the other hand, is literally never seen not wearing his. He even drove at night still wearing them. It ended with a fiery car wreck of course, although the accident was not the fault of his shades.
Despite being a nocturnal vampire, Alucard is prone to his trademark shades. When we first meet him he wears those orange sunglasses of his. He also wears them in that dark basement back at Hellsing Manor.
Although he's seen without them half the time, Mera from TOKYO TRIBE 2 sometimes wears his sunglasses inside, outside, and at night. Sometimes he wears them so much, that his commander Buppa has to order him to take them off whenever inside.
Numata from Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. As it turns out, it's to honour his dowsing mentor, who told him that a man should always hide his tears. Numata tends to be overly emotional partly due to a rather crappy childhood.
Bear Walken and Bunji Kugashira of Gungrave both perpetually wear sunglasses. Bear's eyes are seen just before his death in the anime, Bunji's never are.
Nanba-san of Living Game appears without her sunglasses for only two or three panels out of 100-odd chapters.
Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!! evidently sees no reason to take off his sunglasses when the sun goes down or he's off the job. Given that they're implied to be a gift from Tom, he probably just clings to them like he does his otherMemento MacGuffins.
Michiko in Michiko to Hatchin. On one occasion, she's not only driving her scooter at night while wearing sunglasses, it's also raining to boot!
Younger Togoro of YuYu Hakusho he only removes them when the fighting gets serious.
Prime Minister Wong in Mobile Fighter G Gundam sports a pair of these as well, and takes them off exactly once in the whole series.
The three "Hunters" from Elfen Lied Bando, The Unknown Man, and The Agent. Bando's is partially justified, as he set up flash bombs on the beach, and he kept the glasses on, on the off chance he'd get into fight.
In Bleach, the blacksmith Nimaiya Ouetsu sports shades. He only removes them when he forges a sword, since he needs to be able to tell the color of the flames.
Hex, from Tangent Comics, as part of his obsession with being, and being considered, cool.
For no real reason, The DCU's Kid Eternity never takes off his sunglasses.
Spider-Man's enemy Doctor Octopus. (In the mini-seres Spider-Man/Dr. Octopus Negative Exposure, he tells a photographer that there's a reason for this: the accident that bonded his tentacles to him also made his eyes very sensitive to light. In the final issue of the mini-series, the photographer uses this knowledge to help Spider-Man defeat him. After the villain's glasses are knocked off, he aims a camera with a flash directly in his face, which blinds him long enough for the hero to clock him.
Blade from Marvel Comics wears shades because his eyes are sensitive to light. He can also see in the dark, so wearing them at night is no big deal.
The Corinthian of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. Justified, in that he has tiny mouths with razor-sharp teeth where his eyes should be. We get several brief sequences from his POV in The Doll's House that include a blue tint to show this. In the second scene with him it becomes extra-clear that he's wearing sunglasses (rather than just standing in shadow) when a would-be mugger knocks them off and he has to put them back on a few panels later. Needless to say, you really shouldn't touch the shades.
The Anarchist of X-Force (later X-Statix) always wore his tinted sunglasses. Always. Even in a flashback to his childhood and when he was otherwise naked, like in the shower. It's implied that his eyes are overly sensitive to light, and that they're prescription.
Matt in Dramacon wears sunglasses for the third reason.
The vampiric Cassidy from Preacher wears sunglasses 24/7 (except during flashbacks to his human life). Towards the end of the book, we find out why. His eyes are bloodshot
And before that, every time they come off the reaction is, "My god, what happened to your eyes?!?"
The titular character from Mr. X always wears sunglasses. Presumably to cover up the damage that years of drug-assisted sleep deprivation have done.
A different Mr. X, a Wolverine villain and former member of the Thunderbolts, also wears sunglasses all day, every day. He's first encountered by his new T-Bolts teammates at a ballet performance; Paladin took care to notify him that he looked like an asshole wearing sunglasses indoors at night.
The Phantomnever shows his eyes in most adaptions. If he's not in costume and wearing his mask, or in shadow, he's wearing sunglasses.
In the swedish comic Hälge we have Uffe. This trope gets discussed, deconstructed and lampshaded in one strip where we see him walk into trees and other stuff in the middle of the night. Apparently he wears them all the time cause he doesn't want people to see that he has friendly baby blue eyes.
For a time at least, Wonder Man was a case 3, wearing sunglasses so the ionic energy constantly glowing in his eyes wouldn't freak people out. He eventually got over it.
Ghost from Yet Again wears these due to being blind as reason three and they allow him to read as reason four
In With Strings Attached, Ringo constantly wears his fake (solid obsidian) sunglasses to hide the fact that he's walking around with his eyes closed all the time. Mostly it's just an affectation, though. And he loses the glasses when they get turned into a living creature.
The worshipers of the Signless in Cultstuck wear dark glasses at all times to hide the color of their eyes (which would give away the color of their blood, and thus their former position in the hemospectrum). The glasses serve no other purpose; besides being nocturnal, they live underground.
Films — Animated
In Dark Fury, mercenary boss Junner is wearing sunglasses in a completely artificially-lid spaceship. Justified in the case of Riddick, since he's blinded by any sources of light.
Pretty much the entire cast of The Matrix wears their sunglasses at night, at fights, at eating ... at least while they're inside the virtual world. Real world, not so much. (Albeit mostly because you can't even see the sun in the real world, let alone find an intact pair of sunglasses.)
Riddick from Pitch Black wears not just sunglasses, but welding goggles, because his eyes have been altered to be super-sensitive to any light, as recounted in Escape from Butcher Bay. As a consequence, his eyeballs see things in just-next-to total darkness in high resolution, and anything overly bright burns them.
Vince in My Science Project wears sunglasses all the time. When asked why he is wearing them at night, he answers "Because when you're cool, the sun shines on you 24 hours a day."
The Terminator. The first one used sunglasses to hide his damaged eye (he only wore sunglasses after it was damaged). The second one was entirely Rule of Cool.
In the TV series Zaphod Beeblebrox also doesn't take off his sunglasses in a cave because they are "peril-chromatic," that is, they turn black at the slightest hint of danger, thus preventing you from seeing anything that might alarm you.
School For Scoundrels has Billy Bob Thornton's "sensei" have his loser students do as part of their "training" - wear sunglasses all the time, day or night, inside and outside. Eventually, the main character gives up once he realizes that his mentor is full of crap and tells his friends (who keep doing that) that they look stupid.
The main protagonist of Ben Elton's 'Stark', one Colin 'CD' Dobson, is constantly wearing sunglasses, even at night and when taking shot at helicopter. In a complete fluke he actually succeeds in destroying it, which was very likely not his intention.
In the first Artemis Fowl book, Butler questions Artemis about why they have to wear sunglasses during their fairy kidnapping attempts at night. It makes them immune to the fairies' hypnosis powers as the sunglasses have mirrored lenses and the Mesmer won't work on strong minds without eye contact.
In William Gibson's Sprawl stories, Molly Kolodny (aka Molly Millions, Sally Shears, etc.) in Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, and the short story "Johnny Mnemonic" never takes her mirrorshades off. Because they're implanted into her face.
For that matter, Sublett in Gibson's book Virtual Light has mirrored contacts he wears all the time due to a light allergy.
In the Dale Brown novel Edge of Battle it is noted that "Comandante Veracruz" wears sunglasses almost all the time.
In Gaunt's Ghosts novels Ezrah ap Niht wears sunglasses given to him by Varl almost all the time, even indoors.
Joe Pike from the books of Robert Crais wears glasses all the time including literally at night. It was seven books before we found out his eye color. This is part of his extreme stoicism and when they do come off in L.A. Requiem it's symbolic.
Sunglasses After Dark is the first book of Nancy Collins' series about Sonja Blue, a light-sensitive vampire who wears just those.
The 1980's pulp hero John Thomas Rourke in The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern. This is due to his sensitivity to light, and he is always seen wearing them on the book covers.
Fozzie also wore them one episode, after the band declared him officially hip. He spent the rest of the episode bumping into things from wearing them indoors.
Battlestar Galactica. Romo Lampkin wears his sunglasses constantly, even in the dark corridors of Galactica. He is however a kleptomaniac lawyer who wouldn't want people to see where he's looking. Not to mention the times he finds it useful to remove them for effect (e.g. when he's interviewing Caprica Six).
In Mr. Big's King of Fighters appearances, the glasses stay intact throughout the battle, as with Clark and Choi. In KOF: '98, Clark actually puts his glasses on before the match.
Not only does the Duck King from Fatal Fury wears his glasses in battle and at night, but he changes to a new pair for each new costume he wears. Cheng Sinzan also sports shades in battle after his initial game appearance.
Part of that has to do with the fact that Adam has Electronic Eyes and likely wants to hide that. It doesn't help that there's plenty of anti-augmentation feelings going around. Besides, as he mentions in the trailer, he "never asked for this".
Sissel (actually Yomiel) in Ghost Trick always wears sunglasses, even though the game takes place entirely during the night. Justified, as he's a ghost, and they don't hinder his vision.
Justified even more because he saw the body he thought was his wearing sunglasses, and as a cat he didn't know what those black things on the face were for. As for Yomiel, with him it's probably just because of Rule of Cool.
Wesker in Resident Evil series, but from Resident Evil: Code: Veronica onward, he has a reason.note Who in their right mind would walk around exposing their cat-like eyes in public, anyway? Perhaps the most ridiculous use is when flashbacks and pictures shows him wearing them in the lab. Granted labs do require some form of eye protection but it is still disconcerting when even before he injects his virus, he chooses to wear shades in a foggy nighttime forest and rather dark mansion.
In Resident Evil 5, These are what help Sheva and Chris defeat him at the end, as they just turn the lights off and shoot him when he starts having trouble seeing them.
Roy Koopa from Super Mario Bros. was actually named for his ever present sunglasses ("Roy" as in "Roy Orbison").
Eggman in the Sonic the Hedgehog game always wears those little blue glasses that hide his eyes for no apparent reasons. Even on dimly-lit space colonies. Maybe they're for protection, right? No, he sometimes covers them up with big black (welding?) goggles. Apparently, in the very visually-detailed 2006 title, Eggman's eyes can be seen behind his glasses, and they're blue.
The pair he wears on top of his head are basic safety goggles - apparently he builds his robots by hand sometimes - and in the 2006 game you can clearly see that the regular sunglasses serve as micro-computer screens for the Doctor.
Rude from Final Fantasy VII. In The Movie sequel, when his glasses are knocked off and cracked, he simply reaches into his jacket and pulls out another pair.
Blake Hall from Pokémon Ranger 2 wears them in the middle of the night...on the roof of a several-hundred-foot-tall building while standing close to the edge. Smart guy.
Played almost literally in Pokémon Gold and Silver, where you meet a man wearing sunglasses in the middle of Dark Cave (which requires using Flash to navigate through).
Sam Burston, one of the punks of Mitsumete Knight, wears a pair of sunglasses at all times. The only time you can see him without them is when you beat him in a one-on-one duel: he'll be shown all battered and with his sunglasses broken.
Alpha Protocol's Mike Thorton can wear opt to wear sunglasses on any mission, at any time of the day. Most of them take place during the daytime, but a few happen at night, notably the airfield during Desert Shield, the infiltration of Marburg's villa in Deus Vult, and just about every mission in Moscow save the trainyard.
Fallout 3's sun glasses give your perception stat a bonus regardless of when they're worn, encouraging this trope. There is even a mod that gives the player a perk that causes all sun glasses to grant a massive charisma bonus, but only at night, with Rule of Cool serving as an in-game justification.
The point-and-click adventure game Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy takes place entirely at night, and the protagonist Joshua Reev wears sunglasses the whole time. He takes them off at the end of the game, just as the sun is rising (though we don't get to see his eyes).
In Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, Marionette Owl wore sunglasses even in places not appropriate (such as indoors during a blackout). It's justified in his case, however, as he was born with a mutant gene that allows him to see in the dark on par with an owl, and its hinted that his eyes as a result of the mutation shine in the dark, thus necessitating eyewear that masks the eyes.
Boss, the bartender from Catherine wears them to hide his unusual red eyes, which also are a mark of his true identity — Thomas Mutton, the man giving Vincent nightmares.
Night Trap has Tony playing this trope straight. At least one character puts a Lampshade Hanging on it by mentioning how strange it is that he wears sunglasses at night. Tony wears them to cover up the fact that his eyes glow green - which is something that vampires in this game have.
Team Fortress 2 - The Sniper always wears his piss-yellow colored tinted shades everywhere, the Engineer always wears welding goggles, the Pyro always wears a gas mask with tinted eye sockets, and other classes have hats that include sunglasses (including the infamous shuttered shades that are part of the so-called "Demopan" getup).
Cole's best friend Zeke from Infamous always wears sunglasses as part of his static model. This actually undergoes Gameplay and Story Integration in the second game, as he's hiding his face so Cole can't work out Zeke has caught the plague.
Brent Sienna from PvP. When he gets a head injury in one story, the bandages get put on over his sunglasses. He finally takes them off, for one panel, at the altar when he married Jade. He puts them back on afterward, saying he hadn't seen unfiltered daylight in a decade.
Apparently they were perscription since he's recently started wearing regular glasses.
Axe Cop, as well as Flute Cop (and all his incarnations), Ralph Wrinkles, Wexter, and Telescope Gun Cop.
Kazu Ito in Mitadake Saga wears sunglasses (his alias is The Boy With Sunglasses) despite being trapped in a high school. Although it -is- night outside, it's sort of irrelevant.
In A Girl and Her Fed all those who have brain implants wear sunglasses all the time, since said implants make them very sensitive to light.
Dave Strider in Homestuck, as well as his brother, his post-Scratch version, his post-Scratch player counterpart Dirk, and his troll maybe-girlfriend Terezi all wear shades constantly. Terezi at least has the excuse that she's blind.
Black Monday Blues of Dead Winter is almost never seen without his iconic red shades. In one moment his shades are knocked off and crushed but he simply reaches into his coat and takes out another pair.
Tom Mustaine from Soul Symphony wears shades all the time, even in school. It's mostly to make him feel more cool and intimidating.
Just like Proto Man, Bob from Bob and George wears shades all the time, with or without his helmet.
Proto Man did show his eyes once, in "The Aftermath of X". His mind had been switched with Mega Man's due to Mega Man X's wireless router, so he took his sunglasses back from Mega Man until they could be switched back (so it's actually Mega Man, in Proto Man's body, that's not wearing them, except for one panel immediately after they switch back).
Johnny Bravo. His eyes have never been seen on the show, unless you count when he had Velma's glasses on. In one old "coming up next" message, the narrator joked that it was to hide his case of pink eye from the ladies.
Agent Six of Generator Rex, as part of his The Men in Black-esque outfit. They've come off maybe once or twice (and probably just the once) over the course of the entire series, and by the point where they do, it's far enough into the series that it's almost shocking to see him remove them, even though his eyes are perfectly fine underneath them.
In The Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Show, a group of tiny villains are pursued by Plastic Man's team and they have rendered a Majah Raja unconscious. To hide that, they manipulate their victim like a puppet to tell Plas and his friends that everything is alright and are forced to cover his closed eyes with sunglasses to hide them. They are fooled for a few seconds until Plas remembers a few seconds after leaving that he noticed the sunglasses being worn at night in that dimly lit room.
Gravity Falls: Sheriff Blubs keeps his sunglasses on even during a late-night raid.
He once said in an interview that the glasses are partly because camera flashes hurt his eyes, partly for privacy and partly Rule of Cool.
Ray Charles's and Stevie Wonder's are both because some blind people have eyes that are disturbing to sighted people.
John Kay from Steppenwolf is legally blind. Bright light hurts his eyes/what's left of his vision, so they have a practical use.
Roy Orbison started as he didn't want to be seen wearing his glasses in public so he took to wearing prescription sunglasses all the time instead. He must have really hated contacts.
Rocky Sharpe of Rocky Sharpe and the Replays likes to begin his routine by taking off a pair of sunglasses, revealing another pair of sunglasses.
Canadian DJ Chris Sheppard. Let me put it this way - you actually have a better chance of catching Bono without his shades.
They say that if you wear sunglasses during a cloudy day that you're from Seattle.
Or just light-sensitive. A thin overcast can admit, and scatter, a surprising amount of light. What's worse, while overcast lowers the general light levels, thus forcing your eyes to dilate, it doesn't really stop much of the solar UV.
When amber sunglasses became commonplace for the second time in the 1980s, one aspect of their marketing was to suggest that they could be beneficial for night driving, as, rather than darkening the wearer's field of view, they worked by reducing glare and improving contrast, which might prove helpful when driving under the irregular lighting conditions of city lights. Amber lenses distort color far more than other kinds, which would be less noticeable and problematic under mostly-monochromatic nighttime conditions.
Also when driving in the winter, especially at night since the snow reflects the headlights.
Trope Namer Corey Hart wears his sunglasses at night, so he can, so he can, keep track of the visions in his eyes. Later subverted: he started avoiding being seen wearing sunglasses under any conditions, because he wanted to be known for more than that one song (seemingly the only song of his anyone outside his native Canada knows).
Keiji Haino; there are few, if any, photos of him without the ubiquitous shades.
The former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon is never seen without sunglasses. Even during games he wore a tinted visor on his helmet — perhaps the first quarterback to do so — leading to the nickname "Darth Vader". His right eye is sensitive to light due a childhood accident when he tried to remove a rubber band from a toy gun with a fork.
Current Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano also wears sunglasses all the time due to getting fryer grease splashed in his eyes while he was a cook during his teens. It left him totally blind for a month.
Keiji Fujiwara has become somewhat infamous for being able to read his lines in the dark while wearing shades. Nevermind that he looks absolutely sharp.
Most albinos, due to their sensitivity to light and possibly disturbing eyes.
Another medical example is photophobia—which can, with sudden onset, mean you've got brain cancer, and is also a common result of aging. It can result in wearing sunglasses all the time, when symptoms are especially bad and people less than considerate about turning on lights.
Quite a few poker players take to wearing sunglasses so that other people can't see where they're looking, as that could be a tell at what they have. One of the more interesting pairs of sunglasses is Greg Raymer's "Monster Eye" shades, famously worn during his 2004 WSOP World Championship win.
While his aren't ubiquitous (the picture on his trope page shows him without them), Shinichiro Miki seems to wear them whenever he's around his Weiß Kreuz cast mates. This includes both inside during their interviews for the DVD extras and during their nighttime concerts.
Stan Lee wears sunglasses all the damn time. Why? Apparently, he saw it in a movie when he was younger and it looked cool.
Dwayne Johnson, better known as "The Rock", does this from time to time.
Filipino celebrity Randy Santiago wears shades all the time 'cause he has an eye defect.
The United States Secret Service goes for the Sinister Shades look on purpose, to discourage anyone from messing with their "protectees". They also do it so they can stare at someone without being noticed, i.e. no one knows where they are looking.