The Ray-Ban Story

Labelled Ray-Ban because they ‘banned the rays of the sun’ Ray-Ban were the first sunglasses specifically manufactured to protect against the glare from the intense blue and white hues of the sun.

In 1929 US Army Air Corps Lieutenant General John MacCready asked Bausch & Lomb to create aviation sunglasses that would perform better than the fur-lined goggles that would fog up at high altitudes. This was spurred by an incident in which one of his test pilots, Shorty Schroeder, pulled off his fogged goggles in order to see during a high altitude flight and his eyes froze over.

Prototypes called ‘Anti-Glare’ featuring plastic frames and green lenses were released in 1936. The following year they were remodeled with a metal frame and commercially released as the ‘Ray-Ban Aviator’.

Military utility often influences civilian fashion and in 1938 Ray Ban introduced The Shooter, with its signature feature being a ‘cigarette-holder’ circle designed to free the hands of the shooter. The civilian version, The Outdoorsman, was released to the public in 1939 targeting outdoor enthusiasts such as hunters and fisherman. The Aviator gained in civilian popularity during World War 2 after an iconic photo was published of General Douglas MacArthur triumphantly returning to the Philippines wearing a pair in 1944.

The fashion influence of Ray-Ban outside the military was first felt in Hollywood in the 50s and 60s with the Wayfarer being worn by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and then Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys. This Hollywood glam obsession continued past the 70s with Taxi Driver and Robert De Niro wearing the square Caravan. Other defining celebrity moments include Michael Jackson wearing black Ray-Bans indoors to the 1984 Grammy awards and of course Tom Cruise sporting the classic Aviator in Top Gun.

Today Ray-Bans are available in a wide variety of shapes, colours and lenses and here at Central Saanich Optometry we carry both Ray-Ban prescription frames and polarized sunglasses.

Come in and see the Ray-Ban selection we have at Central Saanich Optometry or visit to view all styles.