Monday, January 28, 2013

Should Cyclists Wear Polarized Sunglasses


Many veteran cyclists subscribe to the belief that polarized lenses are not compatible with cycling. This longstanding concern inspired ADS Sports Eyewear to take a closer look at polarized lenses. The results of this research were often contrary to conventional wisdom, and the lessons learned are so significant that some fundamental safety information should be rewritten.

Prescription cycling sunglasses are a big part of ADS Sports Eyewear sales. Because these are a larger investment than non-prescription eyewear cyclists want to know they are making the right decision.

This myth busting project investigated the long-standing belief that polarized sunglasses should not be worn by cyclist because polarization makes it harder to see puddles on the roadway. This is based on the belief that glare from a puddle will help a rider identify a water hazard more quickly. Cyclist have repeated this for generations. We found this to be huge misconception.

Glare is scattered light that obscures vision. A cyclist may be able to determine that a bright splash of light in the roadway is water, but the glare would make it very difficult to determine the safest response to this hazard. By eliminating glare polarized sunglasses made water hazards much more recognizable. Obstacles such as rocks and sticks in the water were more visible, and the depth of the water was more evident. Our testing never found a single instance where glare made any obstacle easier to see.
Polarized cycling sunglasses had an adverse effect on rider safety in only two instances. Some full-faced helmets and a few cycling windshields have stresses in the material that are visible through polarized lenses. These stresses can become opaque when viewed through a polarized lens.

Another concern about polarized lenses is how it can affect depth perception. We were unable to find any instance where this was true. The fact that many professional golfers and baseball players wear polarized lenses supports the conclusion that polarization is not a handicap. We assume this belief is a result of wearing cheaper polarized lenses or lenses with older technology. Conversely the sharper contrast from polarization created much better depth perception. Polarized copper or cinnamon provided the best contrast on a green or blue backdrop.


ADS Sports Eyewear employees took a very personal interest in these tests. Many of us ride. Our families ride. And better vision is fundamental part of a safe ride. Visit the www.ADSEyewear.com web site for more information.
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