How We Manufacture <br>Our Sunglasses

How We Manufacture
Our Sunglasses

AO Eyewear meticulously manufactures metal and acetate sunglasses in our US factory using the finest global components. We take great pride in being the oldest American sunglasses manufacturer.


The AO manufacturing process marries craft and engineering to create iconic eyewear.

There’s a legacy of quality behind every AO frame. It goes back to 1833 and a commitment to make quality eyewear accessible to everyone. At AO, eyewear manufacturing is rooted in a craftsmanship. We bring together expert craftspeople and the finest materials in our state-of-the-art factory. Learn more...

Craft That Has Been Honed for over 150 Years

American Optical has been revolutionizing eyewear manufacturing since 1833. Born from founder William Beecher’s simple and stubborn philosophy of “I can do it better,” AO has pioneered advancements that changed the way we see. The first rimless frame,

Ful-vue temples that expanded vision, the first aviator sunglasses, the list goes on. In the same spirit, AO Eyewear continues to manufacture in the USA, now committed to making the finest eyewear using sustainable practices in our sunglasses manufacturing process.

Craft That Has Been Honed for over 150 Years

Our Process

Strict quality control
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Uncompromising Standards

With AO heritage comes unwavering quality. AO craftsmen are sculptors, machinists, and perfectionists, rolled into one. Every AO frame progresses through rigorous quality control processes throughout production ensuring every frame shipped is held to the highest standards.
The mark of True Original style
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American Craftsmen

There is no machine in the world as valuable as a skilled craftsman when it comes to manufacturing sunglasses. Every AO frame is handcrafted in our Illinois factory. Our process blends machining and handwork to create the highest quality frames.
The return of the Saratoga
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The Result

The finished product blends lasting style, carefully engineered comfort, and quality you can count on, guaranteed for life. To us, that’s what it means to be a True Original.

See it for Yourself

We love talking about how we make eyewear. What we love even more is showing how we make eyewear. Click below to learn about scheduling a visit to tour our factory.
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    AO is committed to creating the smallest carbon footprint possible in crafting our metal and acetate sunglasses. We invest in recycling all metal and acetate scraps. Water used in manufacturing is continuously cleaned so it can be reused for at least six months.

    Frequently Asked

    All AO frames have been updated in 2020 and feature several marks of authenticity. The vintage AO mark is now coined into the temples of all metal frames. Lenses are laser-etched with the AO mark in the upper left corner and ‘Polarized’ on the right lens when applicable. Nosepads on metal frames are embedded with a vintage AO design. The much anticipated relaunched Saratoga utilizes AO’s signature decor style. Inner temple markings display the primary American Optical logo including the AO shield.

    If you purchased your AO frames prior to August 15, 2020, please email us at with photos of your frame (and packaging if possible) so we can evaluate the authenticity.

    Cellulose acetate, the material used in all of our plastic styles, is hypoallergenic. All of our metal platings with the exception of silver and matte finishes have an additional protective coating applied that both protects the precious metal plate and renders them hypoallergenic. However, please note that hinges and screws are alloys and are not considered hypoallergenic.

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