Contact Lens or not?

Ray of Hope
Ray of Hope Posts: 6
edited January 2013 in Road general
Hi All,
I wear prescription glasses and my question is am I better off buying contact lenses and wearing sun glasses or to get prescription sun glasses. I have two concerns - firstly, I used to wear contact lenses full time but my eyes started getting very sore so I can only wear them for a short period of time and secondly if I go down the prescription sun glasses route what do I do if I get caught cycling in heavy rain?

Thanks in advance,




  • Laser.
  • Laser.

    Unfortunately I'm blind in the left eye and I'm minus .8 in the good eye which means that the good eye is too bad to get the lazer done on it.
  • peat
    peat Posts: 1,242
    Trouble with prescription sunglasses (doesn't apply with inserts) is that you are very limited on shape and style, making larger lenses to perscription is difficult because the edges end up being about 1cm thick!. So, no wrap-arounds to fully protect your eyes from wind/insects/debris.

    I wear lenses for sport and the odd night out, any more than 8-10hrs and they are to irriate my eyes. I use daily disposables, but monthlys (or longer) are a good option if you can get some that aren't extortionate. You just have to look after them more carefully.
  • ic.
    ic. Posts: 769
    I use contact lenses and sunglasses. I use Oakley Split Jackets so I can change lenses depending on changing weather conditions (I never change on the ride, just make a decision on what to use before I go out). When I looked into it, I found prescription lenses for were prohibitively expensive for quality sun glasses.

    The other upside is if something happens to your sunglasses whilst on a ride, you can still see to get home. Am thinking an off, or other event causing the glasses to be unwearable (Very unlikely, I know - but worth considering on longer rides). Spare contact lenses and a small mirror wont take up much room if you want to carry spares of those.

    Hope it help, only my opinion. :D
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  • When I got back into road cycling I wore my standard prescription sunglasses (Specsavers Ray Ban rip offs) but they didn’t stay on my head very well and slipped down if I got a serious sweat on. I then ordered up a pair of Optilabs prescription cycling glasses but the curve in my peripheral vision was vomit inducing so I sent them back for a refund. I’d worn contacts for about 5 years in the early 90’s but gave up on them and returned to specs – decided to try them again and after a few weeks of acclimatisation I’m now quite happy popping them in before a ride then taking them out when I get home. It means I can wear any cycling shades I want (in my case Adidas Evil Eye Pro).

    I have a major astigmatism and very short sighted - I think I’m about 7.25 in both eyes!
  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    I vote contacts:

    -you can wear any glasses you want
    -you can use them off the bike and for other sports (I find they make a huge difference when I play squash)
    -no problems with fogging up (you just take your non prescription sunnies off when you're climbing etc.)
    -Depending on how often you wear them, and how expensive your contacts are you can get more than a year's worth of contact lenses (at 4 pairs a week for example) for less then a decent pair of prescription cycling sunnies.
  • I said in my first post that my good eye was minus .8. I wish it was. It is minus 8.0 (blind as a bat !!!). I've just come back from my optician who is recommending monthly contact lenses so I'm going to give them a try.

    Thanks for all your help.

  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Ask your optician about silicon contacts, I wear them for up to 20hrs a day with no problems. Very soft and have a high water content, they also let more oxygen through to the surface of the eye.
  • I feel for you! I'm - 9.5 in both eyes and can't wear contacts due to damage caused by the infernal things in my late teens. That leaves prescription inserts which, as you have gathered, are a PITA in the rain (and I guess would be borderline dangerous on busy roads). As a result, I don't ride in the wet . . .

    I hope you can find contacts that suit you.
  • smoggysteve
    smoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    I wear monthly disposables, never had a problem in any weather. Best to wear some sort of eye defense to keep the crap out of your eyes lenses or not.
  • I wear contacts for cycling as it gives me a wide choice of protective eye wear. For me, contacts do not work as well as specs for work but for riding and reading the cake menu in the cafe they are fine.
  • -6 both sides, and contact lenses make my eyes water when on the bike so badly I nearly wiped out the one and only time I've been daft enough to try it (they're OK to wear for some activities, just not those where I'm in motion it seems). So Optilabs and some prescription lenses for me. If I'm talking to you and still have the tinted glasses on, don't think I'm being rude - if I took them off, I wouldn't be able to see you at all!
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    IF you can comfortably wear contacts it's no contest - contacts win hands down. You can wear any sunglasses you want, when you want, you can take them on and off according to light conditions, if they steam up or are dirty, when you are in a cafe etc. I consider myself extremely lucky, I have worn daily disposables almost every day for many years and have never had problems with them. If you are forced to get prescription sunglasses, don't go for very dark ones, you want something intermediate (say 18% light transmission), or light reactive ones. Otherwise you will find yourself in situations where you can't see because there is not enough light and you can't take your glasses off.
  • g00se
    g00se Posts: 2,221
    I'm 6.5 in both and started wearing monthly disposable contacts two years ago - much better than the soft lenses and dailies from a few years ago. I sleep in them and only take them out to put new ones in.

    I tell a lie - the summer before last, I had to take them out occasionally because of hay-fever - but found a good treatment for hayfever symptoms last year that meant I had them in nearly all of the time.
  • Contact lens technology has moved on greatly over the years.

    FWIW, consult an optician and see if you're capable of wearing lenses first. If so it's up to you then.

    I used to have prescription glasses when riding but changed to lenses as the selection of eyewear is far greater. I still wear spectacles for my everyday use though as the lenses TBH are a bit of a compromise.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • lakesluddite
    lakesluddite Posts: 1,337
    Yeah, what Frank said.

    You say you used to wear contacts, how long ago was that? If it was the rigid type, then yes, technology has moved on significantly. I wear monthly disposables that are (usually) very comfortable, I don't notice I'm wearing anything.

    I'm sure your optician can try to find you the best solution (ho ho). I wouldn't dream of going back to glasses now, despite that a free pair is included in my payment plan, they are very rarely used. I must have bought about seven or eight different styles of sunglasses since 'going contacts' about five or six years ago, and I've never had any problem with them drying out whilst cycling, even without protective glasses/sunglasses.

    Having said that - each of us has a varying degree of eyesight correction needs, and I can only really speak for myself. The only real advice you should be seeking and following is a qualified optician.
  • I used to ride with my contacts in & always found that the left contact lens became very blurred (moving around/water & wind in eye). This was manageable as i still had good vision with the right lens, which was fine. However, as i was bombing down a quick descent one time, the left lens actually CAME OUT OF MY EYE! This was just ridiculous i thought & invested in some Oakley prescription lenses, i have 2 pairs & they are brilliant. I won't be going back to contacts.
  • FWIW - lots of pros inc Cavendish wear contacts on the bike and their glasses off the bike. Half the peloton must be specy baxterds :-)
  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    I used to ride with my contacts in & always found that the left contact lens became very blurred (moving around/water & wind in eye). This was manageable as i still had good vision with the right lens, which was fine. However, as i was bombing down a quick descent one time, the left lens actually CAME OUT OF MY EYE! This was just ridiculous i thought & invested in some Oakley prescription lenses, i have 2 pairs & they are brilliant. I won't be going back to contacts.

    I have the same problem -> particularly in crosswinds.. should be able to solve it with the right sunglasses though.. and I've never had a lens pop out!
  • peat
    peat Posts: 1,242
    My main leisure pursuit other than cycling is kart racing. I used to have trouble with lense popping out or half out during a race. (Nothing worse than seeing 2 apexes at every corner.....) I found it was down to not blinking enough to keep them moist.

    All this talk however has made me think about reviewing my brand and trying some of the newer-tech ones. I have been buying the same dailies online for a few years now without a trip to the opticians. I'd like to think they'd come on a bit.
  • i have worn conatct lenses for the last 14 years since i was a kid, for paying cricket, and use them for pretty much everything nowadays without issue. i wear dailies, but on occasion in windy conditions on the cricket pitch or golf course they can be impacted a bit getting a bit dry- going blurry for a few seconds, shifting a bit if i rub my eyes etc, same when cycling, but so long as i wear sunglasses or light enhances on such occasions i have no issues. when cycling i always wear sunnies or light enhancers depending on conditions, not only do they protect the lenses from any potential wind drying issues and more importnatly protect the eye from any road shrapnel. also for me personally if i wear to wear prescription glasses/sungalsses for riding and they got damaged i would be screwed as my vision is too poor without them to carry on cycling safely on the road.
  • HC-ADP
    HC-ADP Posts: 1
    Mine used to fall out at annoying moments, either too much wind/blinking/sweat - im not sure which it was but I pulled out of numerous races because of it. Had my eyes lazered and it was the best thing Ive ever done!
  • I guess each of us have different lenses & i guess some cope better than others with different degrees of activity. My left lens goes funny even in normal non bike conditions so it is probably a lens issue. When it came out i was wearing my sunnies so it is just one of those things. I am happy with my prescription lenses, but if i had a reliable pair of contact lenses i would be just as happy to wear them. I think my left eye is a bugger to find a decent stigmatism lens for.

    Won't rule out lazer surgery in the future, not for a bit tho.
  • never experienced them falling out unless been seriously and agressively rubbing my eye (that sounds a bit odd...)
  • contacts with sunglasses works pretty well i find. also if you do find that you want to get contacts, google search day soft lenses, they sell their contacts at a fraction of the price that you might have to pay on the high street. i think they only sell daily contacts though. (just as a disclaimed i DON'T work for them!)