The title pretty much says it all.

It's easy to find pages for resellers of aviator glasses or aviator sunglasses, but what are the defining characteristics of these as compared to ordinary glasses or sunglasses?

If one were to buy from an ordinary optician not specializing in aviator customers, what should one look for or ask for to get "aviator" glasses? Correspondingly, what should be avoided?

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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of What kind of sunglasses are good for flying? $\endgroup$ – mins Jan 7 '18 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ Polarizing glasses should be avoided, as many digital instruments have liquid-crystal displays... $\endgroup$ – xxavier Jan 7 '18 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ The term "aviator sunglasses" really is more about a style than specific aviation features. My recommendation would be to find non-polarized sunglasses that you like, "aviator" or not. You should also try them on with your headset so you see how it fits. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jan 7 '18 at 15:38

Aviators are nothing more than a marketing gimmick developed by Bausch & Lomb back in the 1930s. The Wikipedia page on them quotes:

They are characterised by dark, often reflective lenses having an area two or three times the area of the eyeball, and very thin metal frames with double or triple bridge (so-called ″bullet hole″) and bayonet earpieces or flexible cable temples that hook behind the ears. The original design featured G-15 tempered glass lenses, transmitting 15% 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.

It’s possible that Bausch & Lomb referred to the style of sunglasses as aviators given the popularity of early aviation and barnstorming during the late 20s and early 30s. The brand really acquired notoriety and popularity during World War II when they were used by military personnel and began to get associated with flying. General Douglas MacArthur often wore them. Postwar, the style became popular with a number of celebrities as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ I flat out cannot believe I didn't find that Wikipedia page when searching. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jan 8 '18 at 8:41

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