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Oakley Introduces Cycling Specific Progressive Lenses!

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.

 

Oakley Sports Glasses
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

Oakley Prescription Sports Sunglasses

You’re descending at 35 miles per hour on a curvy mountain road.  Even though you suffer from dry eyes, out of nowhere, a wave of tears blur your vision behind your everyday sunglasses.  Do you dare take your hands off the brakes to wipe your eyes?  Or, do you try and navigate the road safely under these dangerous conditions?

Okay, so maybe you think it’s crazy to descend at 35 miles per hour. Instead, you’re riding along at a nice clip of 15 mph and whack, a bee slams into your forehead.

What if he’d hit your eye?

Have I made my point?

Protecting your eyes is the number one reason you wear glasses when you ride.

Whether you’re nearsighted, farsighted, neither or both, you’ll want to see the road ahead, check your mirror and 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. It would be nice if your sunglasses also had automatic wipers for rainy days… but let’s not linger on fantasies.

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 hazards. Most progressive lenses provide only a small cone of clear vision directly in front, which requires significant head turning to assess peripheral obstacles.

Except Oakley.  They have developed a proprietary lens technology  that surpasses all others available today.  It’s no wonder so many athletes sport their glasses — or that Oakley has had an exclusive contract with the United States Military for over twenty years to produce a range of gear including eyewear, goggles, boots, gloves, watches and electronics.  Oakley breaks all boundaries, produces 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 hydrophobic and repel water, body oils, sweat and dust.

The outside of their Headquarters in Orange County looks like a military fortress, while on the inside  it reminded me of the of the surrealistic set of the 1984 Apple Macintosh Commercial.  As I drove up, employees were driving and playing with a full-sized military tank  purchased  when sales hit a billion dollars.  Behind a black curtain in the lobby, there’s even a short walk-thru museum highlighting Oakley’s technical  achievements. This is one wacky company.

James Jannard, the wizard behind this enterprise, started Oakley (named after his dog), in 1975, with three hundred dollars, making motocross grips. This same material is now used  for the earsocks and nosepieces of Oakley glasses.  He lives on Spieden Island in the state of Washington and Kaibu and Vatuvara in Fiji.  He also developed the RED digital camera and was nicknamed “the madman” by his employees in the 1980’s.

Oakley retail stores display every frame, every variation of lens, for every weather condition imaginable,  but without prices listed in plain sight.  You actually have to talk to a salesperson to get that information.  Come on, even at Tiffany’s, the prices are displayed.

Though I can’t tell you what your pair of Oakley’s will cost, I will attempt to share information I’ve extracted from Oakley about whether you’re one of the lucky women whose eyeglass prescription falls into the Oakley parameters for sports glasses.

You will not believe the clarity of their lenses or the lack of distortion. When you wear Oakley progressive lenses, your eyes feel new again– like you’re not even wearing prescription glasses at all.  Even when you go inside,  you’ll want to leave them on.   However, Oakley sports lenses are curved, and can only be made into prescription strengths that fall within strict parameters for only a few styles of frames.

The Minute 2.o frames which are made especially for small faces, come in black, midnight blue, and tortoise.  They are light, comfortable, and conform to my face.  I have extreme light sensitivity, but with the polarized iridium lenses, I don’t squint in harsh sunlight and glare is negligible.

Once you wear a pair, you’ll probably want to get a set of interchangeable clear lenses for night riding.  I certainly do, although I’m leery about popping lenses in and out without damaging them. Perhaps you’ll want 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 doubt I’ll ever buy a pair of prescription glasses from my regular optometrist again.  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.

Oakley Sports Glasses
Styles Progressive Lenses Progressive Rx Single Vision Lenses Single Vision Rx
Half Jacket Yes +2 to -3 Yes +2 to -5
Minute Yes +2 to -4 Yes +2 to -5
Straight Jacket Yes +2 to -3 Yes +2 to -5
Encounter Yes +2 to -3 Yes +2 to -5
Radar No Yes +2 to -5
M Frame No Yes +2 to -5
Enduring No Yes +2 to -5