Aviator sunglasses are a style of sunglasses that were developed by Bausch & Lomb and branded as Ray-Ban. They are characterized by dark, often reflective lenses having an area two or three times the area of the eye socket, and metal frames with bayonet earpieces or flexible cable temples that hook behind the ears. The original design featured G-15 tempered glass lenses, i.e., neutral gray, transmitting 20% of incoming light. The large lenses are not flat but slightly convex. The design attempts to cover the entire range of the human eye and prevent as much light as possible from entering the eye from any angle.
Aviator sunglasses, or "pilot's glasses", were originally developed in 1936 by Ray-Ban for pilots to protect their eyes while flying. Aviators were given their name due to their original intention of protecting aviator's eyes. Ray-Ban began selling the glasses to the public a year after they were developed.
The Aviator became a well-known style of sunglasses when General Douglas MacArthur landed on the beach in the Philippines in World War 11. Newspaper photographers snapped several pictures of him wearing them. The Aviator sunglasses were also issued and found popular in the French Army.
The aviator style has been popular since the 1960s, but became even more so following pop culture references Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and later use by celebrities in films like Top Gun, where Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, and Tom Cruise sported them (sales of the brand rose 40% in the 7 months following the release of the film, Ray Ban aviators were also prominently featured in films Cobra starring Sylvester Stallone and To Live and Die in L.A. - where two main characters are seen wearing them throughout the film.