Prescription Cycling Lens Guide

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Cycling Lens Recommendations


Visual Light Transmisson Key

When you see the percentage numbers next to a lens tint, that describes the amount of light that is being let through the lens. For example, 8-9% is a very dark lens, 35% is a very light sunglass lens and 96% is a clear lens. The chart above shows the percentage range we would recommend for each light condition. In lens guides, Visual Light Transmission is sometimes shortened to VLT.


Lens Material

Prescription cycling sunglasses typically use lenses made of either high grade polycarbonate or Trivex, another composite lens material. Both are lightweight and shatterproof and provide excellent clarity. There are slight differences between the two materials, but for most people they are imperceptible and both result in excellent lenses in terms of optical quality and impact protection. Oakley, Nike and Under Armour use polycarbonate and Smith and Bolle offer Trivex as well as polycarbonate in their cycling lenses.


Polarized vs. Non-Polarized

We would almost always recommend polarized lenses for road cycling, with the exception being if your primary riding times were very early morning or late evening. The polarization filter effectively cuts road glare and reduces eye fatigue. It’s hard to perform your best when squinting and if your face is relaxed your body tends to feel more relaxed as well. The one possible drawback to polarized lenses is that some older cycling computers may use a screen technology that requires you to slightly tilt your head to read the screen. Even in those rare cases, we believe the benefits of polarization still outweigh that slight adjustment.


Progressive vs. Single Vision

If you normally use progressive lenses in your everyday glasses, should you get them in your cycling glasses? There isn’t a perfect answer to this one, usually riders will know for sure if they want them or not. If you are on the fence, we would recommend getting progressive lenses if your “add” power (reading magnification) was +2.00 or higher. If your "add" is weaker, for example +1.50, you can likely make out the numbers on your computer or watch without the reading magnification. In our opinion, the benefit of not giving up lens space for the magnification portion, seems to outweigh the inconvenience of squinting a little to read the computer.



If you have any other questions about cycling specific prescription glasses, give us a shout at 888-507-1230 or and we'll be happy to help.


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