Ray-Ban Sunglasses – A Military History

rayban military

Ray-Bans have been one of the brands of choice for the US military for nearly 100 years now. Their timeless look and UV protection have made them a popular and steady fixture with US soldiers.

Here at the veteran owned Specs for Vets, we have proudly served our military heroes and their families since 1991, helping them continue the tradition of wearing the iconic Ray-Ban sunglasses.

First worn by pilots, who had alerted their superiors to the headaches and glare they were experiencing, Ray-Ban quickly became the given eyewear to protect their eyes from the effects of the sun’s rays while flying.

The military reached out to the well-known supplier, Bausch and Lomb (B&L) to design a pair of sunglasses that would significantly reduce glare, without impacting a pilot’s ability to see clearly. The B&L researchers then went to work, developing the now iconic green anti-glare lenses that are synonymous with Ray-Ban and would safely protect the eyes of pilots while allowing them to execute complex maneuvers.

This glare ‘banning’ technology, or ‘Ray-Ban’, as it would become known, was soon adopted by other branches of the military and fast became a symbol of strength, endurance, and patriotism.

By the Second World War, Ray-Ban had taken on iconic status. Military leaders like General Douglas MacArthur were often seen wearing the classic Aviator style sunglasses during their duties. Most famously, MacArthur was seen wearing them while visiting the Pacific Theatre towards the end of the Second World War and again during the Korean Conflict.

Thereafter, Ray-Ban was a hit with military personnel and civilians alike. Their classic, stylish look coupled with their functionality made them a favorite of celebrities and political leaders.

President John F. Kennedy was often seen wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarers during his summer retreats to Hyannis Port, Massachusetts when he and his family would visit the Kennedy Compound. Again, the sunglasses took on a life of their own as a symbol of sophistication and style. Ray-Ban eyeglasses also became fashionable worldwide, adding another layer onto this iconic brand’s offerings.

Ray-Bans continue to be a huge part of our pop culture, appearing in such films as the classic Top Gun, with Tom Cruise, the edgy crime thriller Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino, and the musical comedy Blues Brothers featuring Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi.

In an article for The Independent, design critic Stephen Baley wrote, “Distinctive trapezoidal frames spoke a non-verbal language that hinted at unstable dangerousness, but one nicely tempered by the sturdy arms which, according to the advertising, gave the frames a ‘masculine look’.”

This fashion-forward approach paired with timeless designs is what continues to make Ray-Ban a staple in wardrobes all over the world.

We have more than 20 different Ray-Ban styles to choose from that are suitable for all lifestyles and tastes. We carry a large selection of non-prescription and Ray-Ban prescription glasses lens options too, so you can enjoy your favorite style regardless of your visual needs.

Are you ready to try on a pair of frames from one of the best eyewear brands in the US and the world? Check out our virtual try-on feature – with just a click of a mouse, you can try as many styles as you want from the comfort of your own home to find the one that’s right for you. If you need any help, feel free to contact us so one of our specialists help you find a frame that will work for your prescription and lifestyle.

Don’t forget during March you can enjoy 25% off all frames site-wide too using promo code FRAMES25 at checkout!

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