I’ve always used prescription glasses to drive my car and eventually the time came for me to get a pair for my bicycle. I think the stimulus was as much so I could see a bike computer as it was to see what I was about to ride into.Whatever the key driver to the decision, I was very clear that my cycling would improve if I could see where I was going!
There are 2 solutions to this: Firstly you can get a single lens with the prescription built into it or secondly you can use prescription inserts (called Rx Inserts) within a more normal set of cycling glasses. Typically Oakleys have one lens which has the prescription applied to it. I suspected the inserts solution wouldn’t be as good as a set of Oakleys, but the rate my eyes seem to change I wanted something a bit more disposable.
Whilst pondering what to do I saw a roadie on the climb to Newlands Corner one morning. He was wearing prescription inserts and appeared to be able to see where he was going. When he stopped, I stopped too and took my chance to enquire about peripheral vision. I was worried the insert might be too small and irritate me when I’m doing shoulder checks etc. He was happy with his experience of the inserts and that gave me the confidence to invest £10 on ebay for a set of Cycling glasses with blank prescription-ready Rx inserts.
Four Surfaces – But the two surfaces on my current cycling glasses mist up and are filthy
A drawback should be that there are lots of surfaces to keep clean. I deliberately went for glasses with no ventilation holes at the top as I have a tendency to ride whatever the rainfall. I was keen to keep the raindrops out, and I always use glasses cleaner to minimise the misting up. I think there is inevitably more cleaning to do, but in the big picture of cleaning the bike and cycling clothing this increase is negligible.
Distance or Varifocal Lenses
I wondered about having a set of varifocal lenses so I could see the computer in my near vision and the roots, drops etc. in the distance. The decision was made for me as the inserts on the glasses I bought were not tall enough to have varifocals. So distance lenses were my only option.
What I Bought
I searched eBay for prescription cycling glasses and found a set with inserts and lots of outer lenses for £10. They arrive with an empty insert ready to have the prescription lenses added. Specsavers in Dorking kindly fitted my distance prescription for £39 within a few days. It really was that simple.
My eyes got used to them within a couple of rides and now wonder how I used to ride without them. I use either the clear lens or yellow tint normally, but also have the option of a polaroid tinted lens to use.
Happily the improvement to my vision is good enough to be able to see bike computers so all the boxes are ticked.
Similar glasses to what I bought can be found on eBay, although sadly I don’t look like the model either with or without glasses.