The whole glasses thing

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
brucelee
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The whole glasses thing

Postby brucelee » 12 Sep 2020, 1:06pm

Hi, everyone. I need prescription lenses but am totally new to glasses so got a big bunch of questions. In addition, I've got a load of questions about air flow around the eyes which I've neglected to research - just trying stuff out to see what works.
Starting with airflow : tend to ride hard so fogging is an issue as soon as I stop (even briefly at lights) so I need a fair amount of airflow. I've got a big head so have tried progressively larger sunglasses but still find the air whips round the side at speed (most of the time) causing my eyes to water. Is there a scientific approach I can take to the selection of the size and shape of the glasses ?
Lenses : I've dismissed glasses with rims at the side or bottom because of their interference with peripheral vision and glasses that clip into cycling glasses for the same reason. Is this valid ? I'm aware that there are various options available when purchasing lenses (anti-glare, anti reflection, polarization, anti fogging, light reactivity, etc....) but have never tried any of them. Is there best practice for any or all of these in a cycling context ? I'm aware that there are a number of different lens materials available is there best practice for this ? Is there any way of having a clear pair of glasses onto which and extra tinted lens can be clipped or do I need two pairs ?
Sourcing : I'm aware of Oakley. What other manufacturers are doing prescription cycling glasses ? Can I get them from an optician and are there opticians that specialise in cycling glasses ? Can I just get a prescription from an eye test and then use this to source the glasses online ? 'Style' is not an issue.
I'm entitled to NHS test and optical vouchers, if I buy a pair of glasses online, how does this work ?
Like I said above - this is all new to me, don't assume any knowledge or insight and please feel free to offer opinions.
Cheers,
Bruce.

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531colin
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby 531colin » 12 Sep 2020, 1:18pm

Contact lenses. Never looked back.

brucelee
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby brucelee » 12 Sep 2020, 1:22pm

531colin wrote:Contact lenses. Never looked back.

Ohhh forgot about that, they're OK even with significant airflow across the eye ?

Bonefishblues
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby Bonefishblues » 12 Sep 2020, 1:25pm

531colin wrote:Contact lenses. Never looked back.

That's dangerous, shirley? :wink:

slowster
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby slowster » 12 Sep 2020, 1:28pm

brucelee wrote:I've dismissed glasses with rims at the side or bottom because of their interference with peripheral vision... Is this valid ?

No
brucelee wrote:I've dismissed glasses that clip into cycling glasses for the same reason. Is this valid ?

Yes
brucelee wrote:What other manufacturers are doing prescription cycling glasses ?

Optilabs

But as 531Colin says, contact lenses.

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TrevA
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby TrevA » 12 Sep 2020, 1:39pm

Another vote for Optilabs here. They do a number of wrap around styles which keep the wind out. They do prescription glazed lenses and you can have normal tint, photochromatic or mirrored lenses. They are between £130 and £190 depending on which lenses you have, which is good value for money. I don’t find the rims interfere with peripheral vision.

I’m about to order my 4th pair of Optilabs glasses and have been using their sunglasses for over 10 years. They get used everyday so lead a hard life.

Prescription Oakleys are getting on for £500 by comparison.

I used to wear contact lenses but my eyes are now too sensitive to them, so it’s prescription sunglasses for me.

Some local opticians do prescription sunglasses but they tend to be the clip in insert style. I’ve had one pair of these but found they are closer to your face - my eyelashes catch on them. I also had problems with moisture in between the clip in insert and the surface of the glasses.
Last edited by TrevA on 12 Sep 2020, 1:44pm, edited 1 time in total.
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tatanab
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby tatanab » 12 Sep 2020, 1:42pm

Contact lenses - several decades ago (1994) I tried contact lenses after wearing specs for the previous 30+ years. Apart from ownership faff I found that there was a definite downside - that year I rode the raid Pyrenneen and found that with low climbing speed and dry air the outside of the lenses got covered with salt from sweat and this did not fully clear for descents. With specs, even though both inner and outer faces get sweat covered I can at least easily clean them off, or even ride without for the climb (my sight allows that).

I use specs with small frames for general use and for cycling i like Optilabs Delta https://www.optilabs.com/product/delta/--- I know you don't like the idea of frames, but with 60 years of spec usage I find these unobtrusive. In the past I had some that had more of an intrusion towards the top of the sides, to an extent that I cut them off. Air flow - yes, you are right that they mist up even with a stop at traffic lights. However, tilting my head down or to the side allows enough additional airflow that they have generally cleared by the time I am across the junction i.e pretty quickly. The other issue you have, too much airflow causing eyes to water, I don't have a problem with sports glasses like the Delta because they are curved around the face. On the occasion that I ride short distances in my normal specs the effect is immediately noticeable.

Lenses - Using prescription specs from Optilabs I have always used "transition" lenses or whatever the current name is. Never a problem, day or night. When I tried contact lenses I had sunglasses (like Oakley) with changeable coloured outers which are not as convenient.

Buying online- you can send your prescription to Optilabs using an on line form, but they also offer a system whereby they send you a number of frames to try out before you place an order. One thing an online supplier will want, which is not usually on your prescription is the IPD (Inter Pupil Distance). Your optician should tell you this is you ask because it is something they need themselves for new specs.

simonhill
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby simonhill » 12 Sep 2020, 2:09pm

I've got normal prescription glasses with reactolite lenses. Dark when sunny clear otherwise.

My eyes have got sensitive with age and water easily. I now wear safety glasses over my normal glasses. They are very light and cover enough to stop wind getting in. All clear plastic so peripheral vision not affected.

They won't win any fashion contest, but only cost a couple of quid from Wickes.

drossall
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby drossall » 12 Sep 2020, 2:24pm

You didn't mention what prescription. I have varifocals.

These days I just wear my normal glasses on the bike. But I have found an issue, in that you lean forward on a bike. This puts the varifocals out. When I first started with them, I found that everything was out of focus, because I was always looking through the wrong part of the glasses compared to when standing. But I needed them, in order to see both the road and my GPS and Audax instructions on the handlebars.

I think my brain has gradually adapted (since it processes what comes from the eyes), and I just seem to cope now. But the ideal cycling varifocals would sort of move each lens section up a bit, without making me look like Denis Taylor.

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TrevA
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby TrevA » 12 Sep 2020, 2:38pm

I used to cycle in my normal glasses, until one day whilst wiping sweat off my brow, I dropped them and the following car ran over them. That was £550 up the Swanny! Cycling sunglasses are a bit more robust if you do drop them and mine are much cheaper than my day to day specs.
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Stradageek
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby Stradageek » 12 Sep 2020, 2:45pm

Contact lenses NO! I've had them dry out and stick to the eyes, I've had them blow out of my eyes and worst of all I've had them blow into the back of the eye socket - tricky to recover :( . I resorted to clear goggles over the lenses.

Specialist glasses are a must if you do a lot of fast descents especially. Airflow around standard specs can actually drag air and debris into the eye.

That said I must admit to just using a pair of old varifocals that don't suffer this latter issue too badly. However its got me thinking about getting a specialist pair, maybe a retirement present to myself.

drossall
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby drossall » 12 Sep 2020, 2:56pm

TrevA wrote:That was £550 up the Swanny!

Even my varifocals don't cost anything like that.

Farrina
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby Farrina » 12 Sep 2020, 2:57pm

This is a personal view (I’m not medically qualified and will defer to anyone who is).

I’ve worn contact lenses on/off since I was 14 (I’m in my late 50’s now) and would very much agree that this is the way forward whilst out cycling. Personally (as the lenses are nearer to the eye) I find peripheral vision much better as compared to glasses where it is often necessary to move the head. Obviously contact lenses don’t steam up.

The only downside (for the short sighted in later life) is, like most of the population, you may need reading glasses as your contacts will make your near vision worse. Apparently it is possible to have just one eye corrected by a lens thereby preserving your near vision, but I have never bothered exploring this as (to my mind) you would be focusing via one eye and lose depth perception.

In my early days because I had an astigmatism (a non concentric shaped eyeball) the only lenses on offer were hard lenses - a rigid piece of plastic formed to fit the shape of your eye (or more accurately I suspect the cornea matched the shape of the contact lens). Supposedly rigid lenses have the best vision/correction.There were some negative implications to rigid lenses.

The eye saw them as a foreign object and was irritated by them necessitating you gradually building up your wearing time - in my case 30 minutes at a time (essentially the eye de-sensitised) so you needed to wear them frequently otherwise the running tears problem reoccurrs.

As they were rigid any foreign body e.g. grit trapped between the lens/cornea was painful (quite a common occurrence when riding a bike) and removing said body, without losing an expensive lens, could be quite a challenge.

More concerning the early hard lenses were not particularly good at allowing oxygen through to the cornea so those who “over-wore” them could end up with cornea damage. I’m unclear as to whether its folklore but there used to be a suggestion that the cornea would acquire additional blood vessels to compensate, but a consequence thereof it was occluding your vision!! Happily as technology evolved rigid gas permeable lenses appeared which to a large degree resolved this problem.

However for infrequent use, soft contact lenses are the way forward. These are much larger than rigid lenses, flexible (you can turn them inside out!) and have quite a high moisture content (I think circa 70%) which means the eye is far more tolerant of them with little/no build up in wearing time required. Happily for me there is now a version suitable for those of us with astigmatisms - they are called a toric lens. Less happily they are more expensive!

Because soft lenses have a high moisture content you are allegedly more prone than rigids to acquiring infections etc so good hygiene is particularly essential. Personally I use daily disposable lenses to negate this issue. However (no doubt much to the consternation of any professionals reading this) if only going out for a short ride (say 3 hours) I store them on my return in a sterile solution to reuse. Note I never wear them for longer than a total of 10 hours and if not reused within 5 days throw them away.

Looking back to my youth I can recall times when I would spend 15 hours summer cycling in rigid lenses and in times of high pollen would return home with bloodshot eyes from the constant pollen infused airflow. Taking my contact lenses out would result in the rather alarming sight of red eyes with concentric white circles (where my contact had been).

I’m telling this tale to suggest that realistically all cyclists (irrespective of whether they need their vision correcting) should be wearing some form of eye protection - I certainly do these days not withstanding my contacts. There will be the odd occasion where glasses steam up and you have to forgo the protection for a short period of time, but I can think of many occasions where foreign bodies/insects have bounced off my eye protection.

With regard to fogging this to a degree is unavoidable especially when there is a significant variation between the air temperature and you! On most occasions the slipstream whilst riding will negate this, but stopping at traffic lights or generating high heat (eg climbing steep hills) can cause an issue. The various anti fogging preparations do work to a degree, but are far from fool proof. Happily if wearing contact lenses you can always briefly remove your eye protection.

With regard to airflow causing your eyes to water there is a reason why a lot of cycling specific glasses are larger than average.

One final suggestion. Having used Oakley type glasses for many years with interchangeable lenses (yellow/clear/sun) I found the vast majority of the time I used a clear lens even when say a sun lens might have been more appropriate. This was because when riding under trees etc vision was to dark to see essential things like holes etc.

Oakley have now introduced a transition type plastic lens that I find so effective in negating this problem that I wear them all year round. They are possibly not as light as a clear lens nor as dark as a full summer sun lens but for 95% of the time are fine. Would highly recommend them.

Finally (sorry appear to have written a bit of a novel) the big advantage of contact lenses is, as far as sports/sun glasses are concerned the world is your oyster and you are not confined to only those suppliers offering adapted frames etc.

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TrevA
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby TrevA » 12 Sep 2020, 3:18pm

I wore contact lenses for over 30 years, but my eyes became increasingly sensitive to them. I eventually developed a corneal ulcer and was advised to stop wearing them altogether. That’s when I went over to prescription sunglasses, about 10 years ago.

By all means, if you can wear contacts, then do. You can then just wear normal non-prescription sunglasses, which are much cheaper. But contact lenses aren’t a solution for everybody.
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531colin
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Re: The whole glasses thing

Postby 531colin » 12 Sep 2020, 3:25pm

Stradageek wrote:Contact lenses NO! I've had them dry out and stick to the eyes, I've had them blow out of my eyes and worst of all I've had them blow into the back of the eye socket - tricky to recover :( . I resorted to clear goggles over the lenses....

Not just tricky to recover, but anatomically impossible. The lenses are contained within the conjunctival membrane which forms a sac between the edge of the cornea and the eyelids. https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=tkxNXbnC&id=A36780E0CE53B29E31304FE57C3FB0195FA2DCE0&thid=OIP.tkxNXbnCsPQtt_zRhUeBswHaD4&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fi1.allaboutvision.com%2fi%2fresources-2017%2fconjunctiva-1200x630.png&exph=630&expw=1200&q=conjunctival+membrane+picture&simid=607995338658549320&ck=A188C8022329F81542483EE6E4DB16E9&selectedIndex=0&FORM=IRPRST&ajaxhist=0