Aviator Glasses – Are they the same as any other sunglasses?

Aviator glasses gained popularity due to their appearances in a lot of hit films. They look cool and give the wearer confidence and self-esteem. 

Aviators differ from sunglasses. The purpose of sunglasses is to protect your eyes from direct sunlight. Whereas aviator glasses are specifically designed to give military pilots coverage for their eyes to navigate the skies. These glasses were originally a Ray-Ban branded product.

The design of aviator glasses is sleek and attractive; celebrities often wore them in public due to a trend that started in the 1950s. Since then, the aviator glasses never really went out of style. In fact, they have made a comeback in the modern fashion industry with a slight difference in their shape. 

How big your Aviator glasses need to be

Aviators are known to be huge in size, bigger than sunglasses. Your ideal aviator glasses should sit comfortably on the bridge of your nose. They don’t have to be too short or too wide. They should be far from the eye so that the eyelashes don’t touch them. Aviators aren’t typically a gendered accessory. These are unisex and can be worn by both men and women. 

The origin of Aviator glasses.

Bausch and Lomb developed the first aviator sunglasses. Their original design is currently marketed as Ray-Bans. Other manufacturers are also manufacturing aviator glasses.

The design of Aviator glasses

Aviator glasses have a unique design. The lense is often dark and four to five times larger than the eyeball. The frame of aviator glasses is made up of metal, and the bridge is either double or triple. They transmit only 15% of the light. 

The lenses of large aviator glasses tend to be convex instead of flat. The lenses cover the entire range of your eye and stop a certain percentage of light from entering your eye from every angle. 

Historical Importance of Aviator glasses

Aviator glasses are also known as ‘Pilot’s glasses’. They were first manufactured in 1936 by Bausch & Lomb exclusively for the Pilots. The purpose of their production was to protect the pilot’s eyes while in flight. 

They gained instant popularity even among the military as they were much lighter than the flight goggles previously used by the military pilots. They were thinner and more elegant looking. Their convenience outdated the flight goggles. Eventually, these new aviator glasses design by Bausch and Lomb was branded as the Ray-Bans.

How did the Aviator glasses become well-known

In World War II, General Douglas McArthur wore aviator glasses when he landed on a beach in the Philippines. He was photographed by major newspapers, and his pictures wearing the aviator glasses became a lasting image of the devastations of the Second World War.

Due to the widely spread pictures of General Douglas McArthur, Bausch & Lomb decided to dedicate the entire line of aviator glasses to him in the year 1987. 

Aviator glasses as a celebrity icon

In the beginning, aviator glasses were sold as sporting equipment and offered real scientific glare protection. In the 1970s and the 1980s, they were worn with colourful frames by well-known celebrities like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. Thus the aviator glasses completed their journey from the military to the silver screen, becoming an icon of style and fashion. 

The commercial popularity of Aviator glasses.

The aviator glasses gained immense commercial popularity. Although people bought them for fashion and style, and because their favourite celebrities were wearing them. They also got added protection from the sun as compared to regular sunglasses. Therefore, they provided a win-win situation for both the customer and the producer. 

The useful and distinct characteristics of Aviator glasses made them highly effective in blocking sunlight. This trait was crucial for the pilot during flight.

Throughout the 1930s, aviator glasses became a luxury item for wealthy people. After some time, the design gained popularity in the hunters and the fishermen who needed the traits provided by the aviator glasses. Hence, these were seen as extremely useful commodities in the public eye. 

Their usefulness, along with celebrity endorsements, made their popularity grow exponentially. They gave tough-guy vibes since Marlon Brando wore them in the 1950s. Later, their hippie version was also introduced by Paul McCartney, who opted for a colored lens instead of the darker one. He used light pinks and light yellows for rock concerts.

Finally, Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer made their popularity off the charts when they wore it in Top Gun. Since then, everyone had to own at least one pair of aviator glasses, increasing their sales to many folds.


Aviator glasses go a long way. Today, every optical brand produces Aviator glasses in various styles owing to their popularity. They were also produced for the armed forces of the United States in bulk. So, if you need sunglasses, you could get yourself an Aviator for added protection, comfort and style.