What are polarized sunglasses? Are they so important in cycling?

Bike Equipment 30 nov. 2020 14:11 Migue A.

Glasses are as important as helmets for cyclists. As well as protecting us from the sun, they also protect us from external elements that can physically damage our eyes. So it's worth spending a little time on them before buying them. Today we are going to see what polarised sunglasses are and whether they are necessary for cycling.

What are polarised sunglasses?

Cycling sunglasses can have normal sun protection of various categories, either photochromic or polarised. Polarised sunglasses are those that include a filter that eliminates reflections and glare caused by light on the surface (water, puddles, road, etc) and offers vision with natural colours and greater contrast. 

Advantages of polarised sunglasses

  1. They avoid flashes of light and reflections that can blind us when we ride
  2. More natural colours
  3. Better definition and contrast, allowing better identification of obstacles on the road or in the middle of a path 
  4. Relieves eye fatigue

Disadvantages of polarised sunglasses for cyclists

  1. Some LCD screens cannot be read with the polarised sunglasses on (although so far we have had no problem seeing the screen of the GPS's we have tested)
  2. Polarised sunglasses avoid reflections that occur horizontally, but sometimes these reflections can give us information. It is possible that we may not notice small pools of water on the road or ice plates in the mountains
  3. The range of perceived colours is smaller
On the left an example WITHOUT polarised sunglasses, on the right WITH polarised sunglasses

Do you need polarized sunglasses for cycling?

If you've been riding with normal sunglasses and haven't had any problems with excessive glare, you probably don't need polarised sunglasses.  However, we recommend that you try them if you have the chance, because it's true that vision is improved by the greater clarity they offer.

As a conclusion we can advise you to buy polarised cycling glasses if you have problems with glare and excessive light, or if you already have normal protective sunglasses and would like a second pair of sunglasses.

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