Cycling has seen an uptick in interest across the world, with over 50 million cyclists in the US alone and two billion cyclists worldwide. Attention to cycling has significantly improved with the launch of The National Cycling League (NCL), the world’s first professional cycling league, featuring events for experienced cyclists and enthusiasts alike. Given this rising popularity, many people have been using cycling gear, including sunglasses.
It’s no surprise that sunglasses are crucial equipment for cyclists. Eyewear helps keep out external elements like the wind and dust and shields a person’s eyes from the sun. But given how a cyclist’s safety heavily depends on their vision, it may be worthwhile spending more for polarized sunglasses. Here, we visit what are polarized sunglasses, whether they are essential for cycling, and consider other factors when purchasing a new pair:
What are polarized sunglasses?
Polarized sunglasses are designed to not only reduce the brightness but also cut glare— which is the harsh light that bounces off cars, snow, and water. This is caused by a wavelength of light being reflected horizontally, intensifying the sun’s brightness. Polarized lenses can block horizontal wavelengths of light, allowing users to perceive their surroundings better. Considering how, as mentioned above, vision is a key part of staying safe while cycling, polarized sunglasses are a must-have for cyclists.
Advantages and disadvantages of polarized sunglasses
By wearing polarized sunglasses, cyclists can avoid flashes of light or reflections that can be blinding during the ride, making it easier to keep track of obstacles on the road and avoid them, This also eliminates the need to squint in bright, sunny areas, preventing eye strain and fatigue. Another benefit of reduced eye strain is avoiding unnecessary headaches, which can be a hassle during a long ride.
However, do note that with polarized sunglasses, some cyclists’ depth perception may change. Furthermore, some LCD screens are impossible to read with polarized sunglasses on, so it can be tricky if you’re relying on a bike-attached GPS. When wearing new eyewear for the first time, it’s good to test it in a controlled environment, such as taking a familiar cycling route before taking it on longer distances.
Other considerations for sunglasses
Considering how light conditions are constantly changing, cyclists also need to factor in the color of their lenses to ensure the best vision of their surroundings. Costa Del Mar offers polarized sunglasses in seven lens colors, optimized for low-light to extremely bright-light environments while delivering superior contrast and color to enhance visual acuity. For everyday activities and overcast days, gray silver, copper silver, and copper are the most versatile choices for reducing glare from the sun, especially with their 10-12% light transmission.
Remember that come nightfall, it’s best to swap out your sunglasses entirely for clear eye protection to ensure the best visibility. For those who need a prescription to improve their sight, ROKA offers glasses that are equipped with their Hydrophilic GEKO™ grip on the temples and nose pads, ensuring that eyewear doesn’t fall off during high-performance activities like cycling.
Most people believe that having polarized sunglasses is enough protection from the sun, as it significantly reduces eye strain. However, they underestimate the need for UV protection, which differs from polarization. When people don’t wear UV-protected sunglasses, ultraviolet radiation can cause eye damage over time. These problems can include cataracts, dry eyes, corneal degeneration, and skin cancer around the eyes. To safeguard one’s vision, look for sunglasses with a UV filter or those labeled with “UV400.” This eyewear contains a special chemical that can filter harmful UVA and UVB, reducing the risk of eye disease.
Polarized sunglasses can improve visual clarity while cycling, making them a helpful tool for keeping cyclists safe. For regular updates on cycling and other bicycle-related news, visit our website SoCalCycling.com for more information.