NEW YORK—April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month and what better way to kick off this month than with a commemoration feature that celebrates some of the most iconic women in history with their signature eyewear—and a few women who are icons-in-the-making, we think. According to Prevent Blindness, more women than men have eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and dry eye. Women may also have vision-related issues due to pregnancy and menopause, with women in the menopausal and postmenopausal age group at higher risk for dry eye disease due to the changes in the balance of hormones.

With all these statistics stacked against women, why not take a moment of fashionable bliss and celebrate some historic ladies who have managed to change the course of history and those set to influence new generations of women. From the realms of politics, entertainment, sports or fashion—they all are known for donning some cool frames.

The History Makers

Angela Davis
A political activist, Angela Davis first came to prominence in the 1960s and could be easily identified by her voluptuous ‘fro. However, every now and again, she could be spotted in some optical frames—gravitating mostly toward lightweight rounds.

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Rosa Parks
Another Civil Rights leader, Rosa Park is of course known for refusing to go to the back of the bus in segregated Montgomery, but this phenomenal woman was often seen wearing rimless optical frames.

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Anna Wintour
Notorious for being super private, with a reputation for being cutthroat, Vogue Editor-in-Chief (who is still very much a part of Conde Nast) is hardly ever seen without her oversized sunglasses. Whether she is front row at a fashion show, conducting a simple meeting or answering 73 Questions for the magazine she heads.

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Iris Apfel
Can we mention oversized eyewear without mentioning Iris Apfel? According to her Instagram bio, the renowned interior designer believes that “more is more and less is a bore,” a motto best evidenced by her choice of accessories. She is often see with oversized and colorful necklaces, bracelets and of course, those oversized frames. Her look is so signature that the 96-year-old just became the oldest person to have a Barbie made after her

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Billie Jean King
A force to be reckoned with on and off the tennis court, Billie Jean King never shied away from wearing her glasses while playing. The 39 Grand Slam title winner could often be seen with lightweight gold titanium frames, which were presumably easier to run around with while playing.

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The Forever Classics

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Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn
When we talk about making sunglasses iconic, we cannot forget former First Lady Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. Sunglasses may have started as a way to hide from the pestering paparazzi’s flashlights for Jackie O, but they quickly became a part of her sophisticated aesthetic. She also was a fan of the oversized look and wasn’t afraid to experiment with shapes.

You cannot mention iconic women in eyewear without mentioning Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The black Givenchy dress, the oversized pearl necklace, that intricate up-do and those dark tortoiseshell Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses are a staple in both cinematic and fashion history.

The Girls Who’ve Got Next

When it comes to trendsetting in today’s fashion, Rihanna pretty much reigns supreme—so much so that the internet has agreed that any look is “ugly, until Rihanna says it’s not.” While attending the Cannes Film festival in 2017, the Bajan singer wore an all-white Dior ensemble which she topped off with Matrix-style Ojala frames by Andy Wolf. Since then, the trend has taken off and can be seen everywhere—from the runways to the streets.

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Meghan Markle
An accomplished actress in her own right, Meghan Markle, who is now Prince Harry’s fiancé, has already made a splash with her eyewear choices. The former “Suits” actress wore a pair of Finlay & Co.’s Percy Light Tortoise sunglasses while attending the Invictus Games in Toronto last fall and they immediately sold out online. The frames were so popular that it took the company five months to restock them.

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