Prescription Motorcycle Glasses: Why Impact Resistant Prescription Glasses Aren’t Enough
Safe riding is more demanding than driving a car. In addition to coping with traffic as motorists do, riders must watch for road debris and pavement defects that may cause a fall. This demands good riding skills and quick reactions. But riding skill and reaction time aren’t enough without a good situational awareness of the road, and this requires sharp vision.
As a prescription glasses wearer, you understand that riding without some means of correcting your vision is out of the question. You may also know that your street prescription glasses lack sufficient impact resistance for protecting your eyes against road debris. However, prescription glasses made of polycarbonate or even Trivex don’t necessarily make them suitable for motorcycle riding. There are important differences between prescription motorcycle glasses and impact resistant prescription glasses. Here are five of them:
A Wider Field of View
Many prescription motorcycle glasses give you a wider field of view. This is accomplished by avoiding flat lenses with super heavy frames at the temples. This inhibits side vision by creating a blind spot. There are many designs that allow great peripheral vision by incorporating elongated lenses with plenty of curvature. This sets the frame temples further back and out of your field of view. Wrap-around prescription motorcycle glasses do an excellent job of this. They also provide better protection from side impacting debris. If you want a more conventional looking pair of glasses with flatter lenses, make sure the temples aren’t so thick as to create a blind spot.
Remember that situational awareness on the road isn’t possible with glasses that force tunnel vision on you. Swiveling your head won’t catch sudden motion occurring off to the side.
Protection from Wind and Dust
Hours of riding at highway speeds can cause eye dryness from air coming into the side of your glasses. If air can come in from the side, so can grit and dust. Even small amounts of dust in the eyes is painful and distracts your focus from the road. Large debris such as pebbles can cause blindness. If you have ever ridden behind dump trucks filled with gravel on an interstate, then you will appreciate the excellent protection of wrap-around prescription motorcycle glasses. Wrap-arounds have a shape that contours around your head. This means there is less area for air, dust, and debris to gain entry to your eyes. It also reduces internal reflection of light off the inside lens surface to your eyes.
On the other hand, if you want complete protection from wind, dirt, and road debris, full facial seal glasses will do the job without restricting your view of the road. A proper fit ensures a good seal around the face and prevents the wind from blowing them off, and prevents bumps in the road from knocking them off. Full facial seal glasses work well for long rides in cold and blustery weather. Keeping your eyes protected from the elements in this way, greatly increases your riding stamina.
Strong and Durable Frames
There is a natural tendency to focus exclusively on the lens material, shape, and design. However, you should never overlook the frames. High impact resistant lenses won’t help if they pop out of the frames when struck by a pebble at high speeds. Durability is important as well. You don’t want a brittle frame material or one that easily bends out of shape such as some of the metals used for street glasses.
The material must retain its shape yet have some flexibility so that it can hold up to the stresses of travel. Placing your glasses in your pocket, shouldn’t cause frame damage or a lens to pop out. Nylon is well suited for prescription motorcycle glasses. It’s strong, tough, flexible, and has a good tolerance for heat and cold. Nylon frames also come in a wide variety of colors and designs.
Another reason why street prescription glasses are a bad choice for motorcycling is their fit. Motorcycle glasses shouldn’t slide down your nose, cause pain when worn with a helmet, fall off, or allow sunlight in between your eyebrow and the top of the glasses. The nose piece should feel comfortable, not leave pinch marks, and hold the glasses in place. An adjustable nose piece may be necessary.
The right fit is more than a comfort issue. Glasses that drop off while riding immediately expose y
our eyes to bugs and small projectiles. A poor fit also causes distraction. It takes your mind off your riding, and constant readjustment takes a hand off your controls. Doing either of these increases your risk of an accident.
Motorcycle Specific Lens Coatings
If you are not wearing a full helmet, you only have your glasses to protect your eyes from UV rays and glare. Both short and long-term UV exposure is harmful. It damages the retina and can cause age related blindness. Cataracts are another UV risk, which cause the eyes’ lenses to cloud over. If you ride during the day, get a UV protective coating.
Glare is equally important because it interferes with your view of the road and increases your risk of having an accident. Glare can cause discomfort, headache, and fatigue. Polarized lenses work best against daylight road glare especially when the sunlight reflects off wet pavement.
For night riding, an anti-reflective coating reduces glare from headlights. Scratches on your lenses can also produce glare, which is why an anti-scratch coating is a good idea. Avoid tinted lenses at night because they filter out too much light. That is, they make the darkness of night appear even darker.
It should be clear by now why there is more to prescription motorcycle glasses than simple impact resistance. Walking on the street and riding a motorcycle involve radically different environments and unlike walking, riding a motorcycle is less forgiving of mistakes. Prescription motorcycle glasses protect you and won’t get in the way of your riding experience.