Protecting your eyes is the number one reason you wear glasses when you ride.
Whether you’re nearsighted, farsighted, neither or both, you need to see the road ahead as well as any obstacles in your peripheral vision. You also need to check your mirror and (if you have one), read your bicycle computer.
You’ll want a design that fits your face, doesn’t create a vortex of wind between you and your glasses, and protects your eyes from the sun and blinding glare. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had great vision and could do all these things without the need for prescription lenses?
Unfortunately, age may have made these simple tasks nearly impossible without the aid of bifocals or progressive lenses. Cyclists rely on their peripheral vision to scan for traffic and other potential road hazards. Most progressive lenses provide only a small cone of clear vision directly in front, which requires significant head turning to assess peripheral obstacles.
Two years ago, I wrote a review about Oakley’s Minute 2.0 prescription sports sunglasses. They were my first pair of Oakley’s and the finest pair of glasses I’d ever worn. The lens quality was exceptional with more peripheral vision than I’d ever before experienced with a progressive lens. I hated taking them off because it only reminded me that I actually do require glasses to see.
Oakley, always on the forefront of technology, has moved away from the traditional manufacturing process responsible for creating those glasses, to “True Digital lenses.”
Oakley can now create a prescription lens with an accuracy of one hundredth of a diopter instead of the traditional ¼ diopter available for most prescription lenses.
Not only that, but here’s the real surprise. They’ve engineered Sport Specific Designs and have created special lenses for Road Cycling!
How are Sport Specific Progressive Lenses different from Oakley’s “True Digital” progressive lenses?
Both lenses are digital and are created with precision accuracy. But as a cyclist, your head position is chin down with eyes rotated slightly upward. The cycling specific lenses give you more distance vision on the top half of your lens with less intermediate and reading zone in the bottom half.
The cropped reading area is a blessing for cycling and walking, since you can actually see more of the ground peripherally, while still giving you enough near vision to read a menu when you stop for lunch.
Oakley recommends the following lens tints for their Cycling Specific Designs:
00 Red Iridium® Polarized
VR28 Black Iridium® Polarized
Black Iridium® Polarized
I’ve been riding with the Racing Jacket and Flak Jacket. Both frames are perfect for cycling as their lenses are easily interchangeable for a variety of riding conditions. The rosy hint of color in the VR28 Black Iridium and the 00 Red Iridium lenses enhances the contrast and improves depth perception by filtering out blues. The polarization cuts through glare and prevents squinting.
My son is quick to point out that, “the Racing Jacket frame is a little intimidating and that’s a good thing.” Considering their large lenses, they still conform nicely to a small face, and are extremely comfortable for long rides. The glasses come with interchangeable nose pieces and the stems have a punched hole at the ends to accommodate a leash which is extremely helpful if your glasses tend to slip down your nose.
The Flak Jackets have two different lens shapes available to better tailor the glasses to your face.
Oakley continues to break all boundaries, produce products of unparalleled quality, and caters to their super elite almost cult-like following. Their products are rigorously tested and ANSI Z87.1 compliant for both impact and high impact protection. Their lenses are are coated with “Oakley Stealth” which reduces backside reflections, which repels water, body oils, sweat and dust.
Oakley high wrap frames are perfect for sports enthusiasts and athletes. However they require curved lenses, free of distortion, and can only be made into prescription strengths that fall within strict parameters for only a few styles of frames. The good news is that these new digital lenses can accomodate a slightly stronger prescription.
Once you wear a pair, you’ll probably want to get a set of interchangeable clear lenses for night riding. Don’t forget to explore Oakley’s everyday eyewear since there are fewer choice restrictions because the lenses are not curved. The quality of vision is so much better than any other pair of glasses I’ve owned, I’ve become loyal to the brand. If you have any questions, I recommend you call Oakley or find an Oakley dealer that fills prescription glasses. They come in a fabric bag (and a hard case), and definitely qualify for Road Snob status.
|Styles||Progressive Lenses||Progressive Rx||Single Vision Lenses||Single Vision Rx|
|Half Jacket||Yes||+2 to -3||Yes||+2 to -3|
|Flak Jacket||Yes||+2 to -3||Yes||+2 to -3|
|Commit (w)||Yes||+2 to -3||Yes||+2 to -3|
|Half Jacket 2.0||Yes||+2 to -3||Yes||+2 to -3|
|Radar Edge (shield) (w)||No||n/a||Yes||+2 to -5|
|Racing Jacket||Yes||+2 to -3||Yes||+2 to -4|
|Warm Up (w)||Yes||+1 to -3||Yes||+2 to -3|
|Urgency||Yes||+1 to -3||Yes||+1 to -3|