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Keeping your sight safe


September 9, 2013 by Rider Newsletter Staff


A few ideas for eye protection

There’s a radio commercial for a mortgage company that refers to their service as “the biggest no-brainer in the history of Earth.” While that claim may not really be true for refinancing your home, it certainly is true when it comes to wearing quality eye protection every time you ride. This is simply not a question of “if” it’s a choice of “what kind.” Let’s take a look at some choices for protecting the only pair of eyes you will ever have.

Obviously, you need to keep flying stuff from hitting your eyes while you are riding, but there’s more to it than that. Whether you are on your bike or not, your eyes need protection from UV rays and bright sunlight. These are serious threats and can cause macular degeneration, cataracts, or even cancer.

Got you covered

The best eye protection you can wear, in terms of shielding your eyes from debris, is a helmet with a full-face shield or visor. These are standard issue for many off-road riders and they work just as well on the highway. You’re unlikely to get a bug in the eye with your visor down; however, unless the plastic is tinted and protects from UV rays, you should probably wear quality sunglasses as well.

Many riders prefer not to wear a full-face helmet or visor on the road. This narrows the eye protection choices to goggles and sunglasses. In most cases, the sunglasses you wear to the beach are not going to provide the kind of protection you need at 70 miles-per-hour. A key advantage of goggles is that they generally cover more of the area around the eyes and have padding at the outer edge of the lenses to seal out wind. They are also designed to protect you from side impacts. If you wear prescription glasses, you can get goggles that fit over them.

If you decide to ride with sunglasses, be sure to get a pair that are specifically designed for eye protection while riding. This is likely to add to the cost, but keeping your eyes safe is worth it.

The basics

Whether you go with goggles or sunglasses, there are a few features you should look for. The lenses should be made from a shatter resistant material such as polycarbonate. It is also helpful to select glasses with large lenses that curve around your eyes. They offer more protection, particularly on the sides. Polarized lenses help block glare; however, they can interfere with the ability to read certain types of digital or LCD gauges.

You might also consider special coatings that resist scratching and keep the lenses clear of fog, sweat, sunscreen, and other stuff that can make it difficult to see. Since you are likely to ride in a variety of different lighting situations (bright sun, evening, fog, and etc.) it’s nice to be able to change lenses. Many goggles and some glasses offer a variety of lenses that simply snap into place.

Overall, the most effective way to protect your eyes on the road is probably a full-face helmet or visor with a pair of high-quality sunglasses. Goggles are next best because they provide greater coverage and padding. Sunglasses can do the job, but only if you select them with care.

It simply is not worth risking your vision to save a few bucks or keep up with current fashion trends. Get the best protection you can afford and use it every time you ride.


You’ll find some good advice in this article at has a brief overview of eye protection at this link.



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