If you’re like most cyclists, you likely grab your sunglasses when heading out for a ride with the idea of reducing eye strain from wind and sun. But when it comes to practical benefits, those glasses do so much more. They protect your eyes from physical harm and potential damage, preserving your eyesight so you can see the road ahead clearly. But despite the obvious benefits, far too many cyclists fail to take this simple precaution.
In fact, a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that cycling was the fourth-leading sport associated with ER visits for eye injuries. That statistic alone makes a strong case for wearing any eye protection, even clear cycling glasses or clear mtb glasses, when riding. So what exactly are cycling glasses protecting you from? Here are the top dangers that performance eyewear protects your eyes from on a ride.
- Debris - When you’re riding on the road, glasses protect your eyes from getting hit by bugs, pebbles, and the occasional falling leaf. When you’re tearing up the mountain biking trail, they’ll deflect dust, dirt, mud, rocks, and whatever else may kick up during your ride.
- Wind - Moving through the air at high speed dries out your eyes and causes them to tear up, which can significantly blur your vision. Glasses keep your vision clean and clear by blocking the wind from getting to your eyeballs in the first place.
- Rain & Splashes - Rain and splashes from any puddles you ride through do not play nice with your eyes. A pair of well-designed cycling glasses will not only block the rain from your eyes, but they’ll also shed water and moisture quickly, so your vision isn’t obscured.
- Unseen Obstacles - Tinted and mirrored sunglasses lenses do more than cut the glare from the sun from blinding your vision. Their lenses produce high-contrast visibility, making it easier for you to see obstructions or other dangerous obstacles in your path.
- Crash Protection - Taking a tumble off your bike is never fun. But if you do have a mishap on the bike, highly impact-resistant lenses with premium frames that bend but don’t snap can help protect your eyes from a face-first fall into dirt, rocks, tree branches, bushes, or even parts of your bike.
- UV Rays - Blocking UV rays from reaching your retinas is one of the most beneficial safety features of any pair of performance sunglasses. But did you know you don’t always have to use colored lenses to get that protection? Even clear mountain bike glasses or clear road cycling glasses can still provide UV protection that ensures your eyes are safe no matter what time of day you ride.
Bonus! For downhill mtb eye protection, go with MTB Goggles. Not only are their lenses bigger for more physical protection from debris and crashes, they also provide a wider field of high-contrast vision (depending on the lens color). That’s ideal when you’re blasting through a forest at high speed and need to see everything clearly and quickly.