Your Guide to Buying Aviator Sunglasses

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Your Guide to Buying Aviator Sunglasses

Aviator sunglasses have been a part of the fashion landscape dating back to World War II when General Douglas MacArthur arrived in the Philippines wearing a pair. Originally made by the company Ray-Ban, these glasses became so popular particularly with pilots during the same war, that they earned the nickname aviator sunglasses. Today, they represent a classic type of sunglass style that does not compromise eye protection. Even though they were first intended for men during wartime, women absolutely adore these sunglasses. After all, their oversized lenses offer superior protection from UV rays and glare that other glasses simply cannot match. When it comes to purchasing a pair of aviator sunglasses, you should consider several factors such as frame style, lens protection, and lens colour. Aviator sunglasses are often sold in department stores, clothing stores, and specialty sunglass stores. You can also find a large selection of these sunglasses on eBay.

Aviator Sunglass Frames

Wire-metal frames are the hallmark of aviator sunglasses. Metal is an ideal choice because it is a sturdy material that it is difficult to break or bend. However, if you accidentally bend the frame it can be difficult to set it back into place. That is why many high-end aviator sunglasses come with their own hard-shell carrying case. Common types of aviator frame metals include: aluminium, copper, and stainless steel. You can also find high end glasses made from titanium and carbon fibre. You’ll notice that the frame entirely outlines the entire lens, with either a double or triple bridge across the nose. The back part of the frame uses bayonet earpieces as part of its flight heritage since these earpieces can easily fit into a aviation helmet.

Plastic Aviators

Some manufacturers do make aviators with plastic frames instead of metal. In some styles, the plastic is designed to look like metal, but in most cases the brightly coloured plastic is easy to spot. Plastic frames also tend to be wider than metal ones, especially if they have to hold oversized lenses. Aviator sunglass purists claim that plastic frames do not make a true pair of aviator glasses because they lack the durability that the metal frames provide. However, if you prefer a wide-frame style, then plastic is a better choice than metal.

Aviator Lenses

Aviator sunglasses can be easily recognised by their large lenses. Though the lens may seem perfectly flat at first glance, it is actually slightly convex, which means it bends slightly around the eye. The large, convex lens allows aviator glasses to cover almost the entire range of the human eye, for complete protection against light entering at any angle. It was because of this exact reason that aviators became so popular with pilots who had to fly at high altitudes, where they were exposed to heavy UV rays. As modern technology has evolved, so too have the lenses. Several popular lens treatments for sunglasses are also extremely important to note.

UV Protection Lenses

UV stands for ultraviolet light, which is a type of electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun’s rays. Because the wavelengths of UV light fall short of the visible light spectrum, they cannot be seen by the human eye. However, just because you cannot see UV rays does not mean they are not damaging your eyes or skin. UV rays have notoriously known for causing eye conditions ranging from cataracts to photokeratitis, better known as snow blindness. In photokeratitis, the UV exposure actually kills the outer cells on the eyeball, making you temporarily blind until new cells form. Therefore, it is always important to make sure your glasses are both UVA and UVB protected. Since UVB is the biggest danger, the glasses need to stop at least 95 per cent of UVB. High quality lenses also prevent 60 per cent of UVA rays from reaching the eye. Always try to avoid buying sunglasses without any UV protection lenses.

Polarised Lenses

Many drivers, even those wearing sunglasses, have been driving along and minding their own business when the sun strikes a glare off of a passing car, rendering them temporarily blind. Not only do glares hurt the eye, they can also be especially dangerous when driving. This is where polarised lenses come in to save the day. Polarised sunglasses block out glare by filtering horizontal reflected light.

Battling Reflected Light

Reflected light is usually scattered in many different directions, but when sunlight hits something such as a sheet of metal or the surface of a lake, the reflected light has nowhere else to go. Instead of scattering into different directions, light bounces back in a strong horizontal wavelength, creating a heavy glare. A polarised lens filters out sun glare, making its impact far less severe. If you drive or are frequently outdoors, it might be worth the extra money to purchase a pair of polarised glasses.

Mirrored Lenses

Everyone has seen the late night dramas where a bunch of detectives gather behind a one-way mirror to watch as a suspect is interrogated in the next room. Though the detectives can see the suspect, he cannot see anyone. Mirrored sunglass lenses are covered with a reflective optical coat that basically turns them into one-way mirrors. Not only do these glasses look cool, they also help to reduce the amount of light passing through the lens by between 10 to 60 per cent. The less light that comes through the lens, the better it is for your eyes.

Aviator Lens Colours

The colour of the sunglass lenses affects your view of the outside world. All sunglasses are tinted so that you can see through them more easily, while keeping harmful UV rays out of your vision. The colour of the tint impacts what colours your eyes can see. There are sunglasses with red lenses, yellow lenses, and green lenses, to name a few. Learn about how the different colours affect your vision before committing to one colour or the other.

Neutral Lenses

Neutral sunglass lenses can come in brown, grey, and green tints. Most optometrists recommend lenses tinted in these shades because they are colour-neutral. In other word, colours are not distorted when viewed through brown sunglass lenses. Red colours still look red, the sky still seems blue, and the grass still looks green. Neutral lenses only reduce the brightness of colours, without interfering with their shade. These types of lenses make good options for driving, along with other outdoor activities.

Yellow Lenses

Yellow sunglass lenses are designed for low to moderate light conditions, which means they are not the best choice for driving down the freeway. These lenses do not work well at lowering brightness levels, and they also make all colours take on a yellowish hue. However, they provide ideal depth perception, so they are a smart choice for any outdoor winter sport, such as skiing or snowboarding.

Red Lenses

Bright red sunglass lenses can be a superior choice as outdoor sunglasses. The red lens filters out bright light, creating excellent low-light visibility and incredibly high colour contrast. While some colours are distorted through these lenses, both blue and green hold up strong. Many outdoorsmen and women prefer red lenses for hiking or driving through the woods.

Buying Aviator Sunglasses on eBay

There are several places to find aviator sunglasses. Many customers have success shopping at a sunglass specialty store or kiosk that offers many different styles by top designers. Aviator sunglasses are also sold in large department stores, but the selection is seriously limited at times. One must understand that when shopping at a retail store, you are forced to pay the high retail prices set forth by the owner. Therefore, if you want to get a good deal on a pair of high-quality aviator sunglasses, using a website like eBay is surely a viable option. eBay offers hundreds of aviator sunglasses from different sellers, creating a gigantic selection that brick and mortar stores simply cannot match. You can find both current and classic sunglasses on eBay, sold in either new or used condition. Buying used sunglasses is one of the best ways to score an excellent deal on even high end products.

Finding Aviator Sunglasses on eBay

Start finding aviator sunglasses on eBay by using the search function. eBay’s search engine responds to prompts entered into the search box. For example, if you wanted to find a pair of classic aviator sunglasses you can enter terms like "women aviator sunglasses" and "women retro sunglasses" into the search engine. Only auction results that match every part of your search query is displayed. If you want to search by a brand name, you can enter terms such as "women Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses" and "women Gucci aviator sunglasses" to limit results. Try experimenting with the search engine to find the best results that fit your budget.


Aviator sunglasses have a long and proud history. If you want to protect your eyesight and look stylish at the same time, pick up a pair of aviator sunglasses. What sets aviators apart from the rest of the competition are their oversized lenses and large frames. Therefore, when choosing a pair of aviator sunglasses, make sure you like the frame style, lens options, and lens colour. It is easiest to find aviators with a metal-wire frame, though some manufacturers do use plastic ones. Always try to choose a pair of sunglasses that come with UV protected lenses, and if you are willing to pay a little bit extra, check out a pair with polarised or mirrored lenses. Coloured lenses influence how you perceive the world while wearing sunglasses, so choose a shade that feels comfortable. eBay is the perfect place for you to find a pair of aviator sunglasses that look fabulous and are affordable enough for everyone.

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