When you think of bicycle safety gear, the first item that pops into your mind is probably a helmet. Less prominent, but just as important for cyclists, is protective eyewear. Exposure to wind, insects, dust, debris and harmful UV radiation can make cycling unpleasant at best and unsafe at worst. Specialty sunglasses go a long way towards promoting eye safety – in addition to protecting riders from airborne hazards that can cause irritation and injury, they also protect from cataracts, keratitis and other eye ailments caused by harmful UV radiation.
What should you look for in a pair of sunglasses for cycling? They need to be all-purpose. On top of providing the protection mentioned above, they also need to be comfortable, lightweight and able to fit under a helmet. And it’s just as important that they provide high-contrast vision and help the eye adjust to frequently changing light conditions and glare caused by reflection.
So what type of glasses should a cyclist get? Shields or wrap around frames are the ideal shape because glasses have to fit the face well in order to protect the eyes. They help keep wind off the eyes while allowing enough air circulation to prevent fogging of the lenses. Curved lenses also help to ensure visual acuity across the entire field of vision and allow the best peripheral vision (which is especially important for maneuvering safely in a group of riders and in traffic).
When it comes to lenses, it’s important to remember that on any given ride you’ll deal with light conditions frequently switching from bright sunshine to flickering light and shade, all of which puts a strain on your eyes. Add glare, reflections and back light and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The right colour lens can go a long way towards mitigating these conditions. Rose and amber tints provide the brightest field of vision for cyclists, especially in low light conditions. Gray lenses, although less efficient, also reduce glare and render colors true-to-life, offering good vision all year round, even in bright sunshine. Many lenses are also available in polarizing versions which eliminate the vertically oscillating portion of light and help to filter out reflections from bright smooth surfaces. And most lenses can be fitted with prescriptions for those requiring corrective lenses.
With so many options available, it can be overwhelming. To get help choosing the perfect pair of glasses for biking, visit the FYidoctors nearest you.