Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience. However, without proper eye protection, going full throttle on a bike can feel more dangerous than thrilling. Riding a motorcycle without the correct eyewear is risky business. Even the smallest bug or pebble hitting you in the eye at 60 mph is enough for a serious injury, or worse.
That’s why investing in a good pair of prescription motorcycle goggles or glasses designed specifically for riding is a must, my friend. Think of it as protective gear for your peepers. But with so many options on the market, choosing the right pair can get confusing.
This comprehensive guide breaks down everything you need to know to find prescription motorcycle goggles or glasses that are safe, comfortable, and fit your vision perfectly.
Types of Motorcycle Eyewear
Glasses vs Goggles
The first decision is glasses or goggles. What’s the difference, you ask?
Goggles offer more coverage, protecting your entire eye area from debris, bugs, dirt, and other hazards. Glasses leave more area exposed around the edges.
However, goggles can feel bulky, especially if you wear a full face helmet. Glasses provide a more lightweight feel and often integrate better with helmets that have built in face shields.
As a rule of thumb, goggles pair better with open face helmets, while glasses fit nicely under full face helmets. Goggles contour better to the openings of half shell helmets. Meanwhile, sleek and slim straight temples on glasses slide cleanly under full face helmet straps without uncomfortable pressure.
Most goggles and many glasses come equipped with a foam cushion lining that creates a protective seal around your eyes. This padding blocks wind, fine particulates, and other irritants from seeping in from the sides.
Removable and replaceable foam is preferred in case the lining gets sweat-logged and grody over time. You can pop it out, wash it, and put fresh foam back in. Closed cell foam holds up longer than open cell but is harder to replace once worn out.
Prescription vs Non-Prescription
If you have 20/20 vision, you can skip this section. But if you wear corrective lenses, paying attention is key.
Before ordering prescription motorcycle eyewear, get an updated eye exam if you haven’t had one in over 2 years. Your vision may have changed, and an outdated prescription paired with high velocity activities is just asking for trouble.
Visit your optometrist, get your latest Rx numbers, along with pupillary distance (PD) measurement. Now let’s dig into your lens options.
Do you need single vision to correct near or farsightedness? Bifocals or progressives to tackle both distance and reading? There are also lens coatings like anti-reflective (AR), UV protection, polarization, and more to enhance clarity and protection.
Trying to digest all these lens choices can make your brain hurt worse than the ice cream headache from gulping a Slurpee too fast.
Luckily, many online motorcycle eyewear retailers have user-friendly tools that walk you through common options to customize your perfect pair.
Try Before You Buy
Instead of blindly guessing at what frames and lenses suit you best, take advantage of try-at-home programs many stores now offer. You pay a small deposit, they ship you a selection of frames to test, and you only pay for what you keep. Return shipping back to them is covered.
These programs send you frames most likely to fit your face shape and size based on a quick questionnaire. Try before you buy takes the risk out of internet eyewear purchases.
What to Look for in Motorcycle Eyewear
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty features that separate mediocre motorcycle glasses and goggles from high performance vision protection.
The frame forms the foundation that holds lenses in place to shield your eyes. Here’s what to evaluate:
Look for frames that wrap widely across your face with lenses large enough to safeguard the entire eye area. Curved lenses and arms that sweep temples closely follow the contours of your head. This maximizes how much sphere is guarded from debris.
Motorcycle eyewear frames should be ultra sturdy to withstand high velocity collisions. Modern durable materials like polycarbonate plastic, nylon, and injection molded thermoplastic rubber flex on impact instead of shattering.
Metal alloy frames are also very resilient while retaining chic style. Brands will often tout safety certifications like ANSI Z87.1 for impact resistance.
Temples & Straps
Glasses designed for motorsports have thinly profiled temples that slide cleanly beneath helmet straps. Goggles feature an adjustable elastic strap to dial in the perfect tightness over helmet openings.
On both types, padded temples prevent sore spots on your head from prolonged pressure. Look for grippy material on the nose bridge and temples to keep eyewear firmly in position.
As mentioned earlier, a cushioned gasket forms a protective barrier between your eyes and outside elements trying to sneak in. Foam lining compresses slightly for a comfortable fit that doesn’t leave raccoon imprints around your eyes after removing them.
Now onto the good stuff! Lens quality is vital for visual clarity and protection.
You want shatterproof lenses able to withstand a major blow without spiderwebbing or cracking. Polycarbonate and Trivex plastic lenses absorb tremendous impact that would crack weaker materials. Many motorcycle eyewear companies meet ANSI Z87.1 safety criteria for high mass, high velocity resistance.
Tints & Colors
Like an artist’s palette, motorcycle lenses come in a diverse color spectrum, each optimized for different riding conditions.
Grey lenses are a versatile neutral that cuts glare without hue distortion, working well on sunny days. Brown and rose tints enhance contrast on cloudy days while blocking blue light that can strain focus.
Yellow lenses excel for low light night riding by boosting contrast and depth perception. Mirrored coatings reflect more sunlight for extra bright conditions.
For wildly shifting light like mountain twisties with alternating sun and shade, photochromic transitional lenses reactively darken and lighten as needed.
Similar to neutral density camera filters that reduce light exposure, polarized motorcycle lenses use microscopic vertical filters to cut intensely reflected horizontal light rays that create glare.
By blocking dazzling glare off wet roads, glass buildings, chrome, and car hoods for example, polarization filters enable you to see more clearly in bright environments.
Special lens treatments provide additional optical enhancements:
- Anti-Reflective (AR) coatings almost eliminate lens surface reflections and glare to increase light transmission for sharper acuity. AR also makes it easier for others to see your eyes.
- Hydrophobic/Oleophobic coatings repel water, grease, and skin oils that could smear or obscure lenses from road spray and sweaty helmet padding.
- Anti-Fog prevents inside lens fogging in cold or humid riding conditions through specialized nano-scale coatings. This provides much safer continuous clarity so you don’t have to flip up your visor to defog.
Finding the Right Fit
You could have the world’s finest lenses mounted in a featherlight titanium frame, but even the best motorcycle goggles or glasses still need to actually fit your face.
Comfort-driven design custom tailored to your distinctive bone structure ensures eyewear that doesn’t pinch, slip, or chafe. So how do you determine a good fit?
Head Size Considerations
Instead of traditional frame dimensions like lens width, arm length, bridge size, etc, motorcycle eyewear brands categorize frames by head circumference.
But how do you gauge your own noggin size objectively?
By Helmet Size
If you know your helmet size, look for motorcycle glasses or goggles explicitly matching that dimension. Most helmet sizing charts include equivalent head circumference.
For example, if you wear a medium helmet, you have a 55-56cm head, indicating small/medium framed eyewear.
By Hat Size
Alternatively, consult a ball cap or sun hat sizing chart to derive your cranial measurement for comparison. If fitted hats in size 7 1/8 fit you well, you have an averaged size head.
Match that up with motorcycle eyewear measuring 55-57cm for a secure fit with decent coverage.
Try Before You Buy
Still unsure what size range or style fits you best? Many online stores have implemented virtual try on apps or ship-to-home programs where you can physically sample various frames.
These services mail you a selection of glasses or goggles to evaluate before committing. Once you decide what you want to keep, send back the rejects with prepaid return labels.
Trying frames risk-free helps resolve fit guesswork so you order motorcycle eyewear guaranteed made for your unique proportions. No more pinchy disappointments showing up in the mail.
Can Prism Contact Lenses Be Worn Under Motorcycle Goggles Over Glasses?
Vision Correction Options
If you don’t require prescription lenses, skip ahead. Otherwise let’s explore how to integrate your optical Rx into motorcycle goggles and glasses.
Single Vision vs Multifocal
Single vision lenses correct nearsightedness or farsightedness consistently across the entire lens. Multifocal means lenses also address presbyopia for tired aging eyes that need help focusing up close.
The two main multifocal lens types are:
Bifocals – Have a small rectangular window at bottom of lens with added magnifying power for reading while upper area is tuned for distance. There’s an visible abrupt line separating near and far zones.
Progressives – Provide a smooth gradient transition from distance correction at top through intermediate in middle to near magnification at bottom. No dividing lines interrupted the lens.
Digital Free-Form Lenses
Standard molded lenses can create optical distortions on wrap around curved motorcycle frames. In contrast, digital free-form lenses get precision surfaced by specialized smart machinery guided by your exact Rx numbers.
This negates distortion while maximizing fields of clear sight. Digital Rx lenses cost more but the visual upgrades and safety benefits justify the price.
Thinning Technology for Strong Powers
If you have thick coke-bottle lenses over +/- 3.50 diopters, thinning tech shaves weight and profile by removing extra material outside main fields of view. This prevents extreme edge thickness on wrap frames. Improved aesthetics and less visual distortion.
Beyond Basic Lenses
Earlier we touched on beneficial tints. Now let’s look at popular specialty finishes to enhance your motorcycle eyewear.
Why get separate shades for day and night when you can have lenses that automatically adjust between the two? Transitions use intelligent photochromic technology to darken when exposed to UV light.
The darker your Transitions lenses get, the stronger their UV protection becomes, reversing when UV levels decrease. Transitions also come in different speed variants.
XTRActive are the fastest switchers, reacting more quickly when riding in and out of sunny patches on mountain roads with intermittent shade. Detecting UV through tinted visors, XTRActive also fit comfortably under full-face motorcycle helmets.
We’ve all experienced glare’s potentially perilous effects from low winter sunlight reflecting off snow or stainless steel truck panels ahead appearing like mirrors. Difficulty seeing brake lights through the sheen puts you at risk.
Polarized lenses utilize light wave filters to allow mostly vertically oriented rays into your eyes that convey the actual environment rather than obscured horizontal glare rays bouncing off surfaces. This improves depth perception.
So if riding east into a glowing dawn or west against an intensely setting sun, polarization earns its value in optical clarity and safety confidence.
What’s cooler than sunglasses that make it look like you have chrome or rainbow glass for eyeballs? These beam rejection experts feature micro-thin layered metallic coatings that further reduce sunlight penetration beyond dark tints alone.
Flashing mirrored lenses still allow faint visibility of your eyes compared to reflective solid mirrors that completely hide pupils. Go with flash mirrors if you want the stylish appearance of mirrors without looking quite so cyborg.
Whew, that covered everything you could possibly need to know selecting optimal motorcycle goggles or glasses suited for your eyesight, riding conditions, eyewear preferences, and budget.
To recap, prioritize safety certified eyewear with impact resistant frames and lenses engineered for motorsports velocity collisions.
Dial in ideal vision correction matched to your Rx needs. And don’t forget about bonus features like polarization and Transitions to take protection and performance to the next level.
Finding frames that fit comfortably while covering maximum surface area shields vulnerable peepers from hazards. Now just slide them on and ride safely cleared for takeoff with your newfound knowledge!