American Optical Sunglasses
American Optical Sunglasses

American Optical Sunglasses

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American Optical -A Tradition Of Iconic Style

Since 1833, American Optical has been focused on making eyewear more stylish, more functional, and more accessible. That makes AO the oldest optical company in America. In over 150 years, the team behind AO Eyewear has broken molds, shaped the look of modern eyewear, and created some of the most iconic sunwear styles in history. AO’s relaunched collection draws inspiration from its storied history and the milestones that came before it.

For Leaders...

Style with Project Confidence

Style is born of confidence. By carefully balancing form and function, AO Eyewear has been producing styles worn by world leaders since the mid-twentieth century.

Sometimes when a classic item is worn by a legendary figure, it takes on a persona all its own. Such is the history of the AO Saratoga, most notably worn by John F. Kennedy. In addition to state events, President Kennedy can be seen wearing the Saratoga in many photos while boating, projecting the Camelot image that so many Americans aspired to. The Saratoga became an instant classic, with its flattering shape and quality craftsmanship.

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On the right: JFK visits Southbridge, MA, the original home of American Optical. Above: President Kennedy pictured wearing the AO Saratoga on a visit to Fort Bragg, NC in 1961.

For Pioneers...

Quality That Won't Let You Down

AO has been known for quality since its founding in 1833. As a longtime supplier of flight goggles to the US military, and the first to produce aviator sunglasses for US airmen, it is not all that surprising that AO was approached by NASA to supply the first sunglasses on the moon. The FG-58, now the Original PilotTM, was carried by the entire Apollo 11 crew in their survival kits. Whether traveling by car, boat, plane, or space shuttle, AO sunwear has long been relied on for its quality optics and durable construction.

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On the left: Astronaut Neil Armstrong plants the US flag
after Apollo 11 successfully lands on the moon. Above: The Apollo 11 crew is outfitted with AO sunglasses and they become the first sunglasses on the moon. You can see a pair on display at the Smithsonian.

For Icons...

Design That Command Attention

Some movies and characters have the power to last through the ages. Same goes for sunglasses. The choice of many movie stars, American Optical’s classic styles have been seen in a wide array of films, from Vertigo, to Taxi Driver, to Tropic Thunder. Never overstyled or overworked, AO sunglasses still look modern when watching these movies today. Further, AO’s commitments to quality standards and rigorous manufacturing specifications keep its True Original styles ready to last a lifetime.


On the right: Original PilotTM worn by Robert DeNiro in Taxi
Driver, 1976. Left: Original PilotTM worn by Paul Newman on
set with Joanne Woodward.

Original Pilot

The Original PilotTM has been a favorite of U.S. military pilots since 1958 and continues to be AO’s best selling style. 2020 brings a return to many original details, like handmade acetate temple tips and a vintage nosepad design. Expect uncompromising quality - engineered to rigid military specifications. This is a frame you can wear for life. It’s a look that never goes out of style. Proudly made by American craftsmen using the finest globally sourced components.

The General

The quintessential aviator from the company that originated the style. The General was named to honor General Douglas McArthur and was originally designed for U.S. military pilots. The classic style looks great on everyone and is now available in rose gold. Engineered to rigid military specifications and built to last, they’re the only aviator sunglasses you’ll need. Proudly made by American craftsmen using the finest globally sourced components.


One of the most classic and enduring sunglass styles of all time, the Saratoga hasn’t been produced in decades. Now it’s back and better than ever, offered in six colors. The 2020 Saratoga is manufactured to the precise dimensions of the original, using the same stainless steel decor. There are some styles that just can’t be improved upon. Proudly made by American craftsmen using the finest globally sourced components.
American Manufacturing

With AO heritage comes an expectation of quality built to last a lifetime. Every AO frame is handcrafted by a team of skilled artisans in our Illinois factory with the finest globally sourced components. In the AO factory, a combination of machining and
handwork create a finished product with lasting style, carefully engineered comfort, and quality you can count on.

Lens Technology

American Optical has been known for quality sun lenses since 1876. In creating sunwear for pilots, AO developed precise tints to protect against eye strain and irritation. AO Eyewear continues to offer the finest lenses available. Select SkyMasterTM glass lenses for superior clarity or lightweight AOLiteTM nylon lenses for increased comfort. AO lenses are offered in True-ColorTM Gray, CosmetanTM Brown, and True ToneTM Green. True-ColorTM Gray reduces eye fatigue in bright light conditions. True-ToneTM Green provides true color perception for natural vision. CosmetanTM Brown amplifies contrast and provides warmth.

100% UVA/UVB protection
Scratch-resistant material and hardcoat
Anti-reflective backside coating
Distortion-free for optical clarity
Oleophobic smudge-resistant coating
AO Polarized Enhanced contrast*
Impact-resistant (ANSI Z80.3)
AO Polarized Glare-free vision*

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