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How Does Cycling Sunglasses Protect The Cyclist’s Eyes?

mountain biker wearing sunglasses

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Cyclists need to protect their eyes from the sun, dust, and debris. Cycling sunglasses are a great way to protect your eyes and look cool at the same time!

Cyclists need sunglasses for a number of reasons.

    • Firstly, they need protection from the sun which can cause eye damage if it is not blocked out.
    • Secondly, they need protection from dust which blows up and can get in your eyes and irritate them.
    • Lastly, they need protection from debris because either rocks kicking up or low-hanging branches can really damage your eyes.

As you can see, sunglasses play an important part in protecting your eyes.

How Do Cycling Sunglasses Protect The Cyclist’s Eyes?

Cycling is one of the most popular sports in the world. It has been around for centuries and it continues to grow in popularity with each passing year. The reason for cycling’s popularity is because it is an excellent form of exercise and a great way to get outside and enjoy nature.

Cycling sunglasses are designed to protect cyclists’ eyes from harmful UV rays that could cause eye damage or irritation. There are many ways sunglasses protect eyes and we’ll get into those now.

Sunglasses Protect Our Eyes From Harmful Ultraviolet Rays

Sunglasses protect our eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. The level of protection is determined by the type of lens used, with some lenses blocking all ultraviolet rays and others blocking only a percentage of them. Some block UVA, and some sunglasses can protect against UVB as well.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can damage your eyes and cause cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases. Sunglasses are a form of eye protection that can help to reduce the amount of UV radiation that reaches the retina.

There are different levels of UV protection in sunglasses and new sunglasses should have a label saying the level of UV protection. For instance, a label of UV400 will block 99.9% of UV rays.

There are some sunglasses that will also protect your eyes against blue light. Many of you might have heard about blue light in respect to electronic devices, but sunlight is a naturally occurring source of blue light and having sunglasses that protect against that helps as well.

There are even sunglasses with a mirror coating that will account reflect the sun much like how a car window does. These can actually inadvertently blind other riders you come across so I’m not a big fan of the mirrored sunglasses.

Sunglasses block 100% of the UVA UVB rays from the sun if they are rated at UV400 on the label.

Sunglasses Protect Against Dust And Debris

The eye protection against dust and debris is a key feature in cycling sunglasses. Cycling sunglasses protect the eyes from dirt, dust, and other particles in the air. These particles and debris are fairly common eye irritators on the trails, especially when with other riders.

When you are riding on dirt trails through the road, you’ll note that the riders in front of you kick up a lot of dust, and often there are branches overhanging the path and sometimes you might not duck in time. Cycling glasses provide great protection so that neither of these usual issues will cause you harm.

Even if you are cycling at night or the evening when there isn’t much sunlight, you’ll still want to wear a pair of clear cycling glasses to protect your eyes from the dust and debris that gets thrown up all the time when biking.

Different Types Of Sunglasses For Cyclists

There are many options for eye protection for cyclists to choose from. Beyond sunglasses, cycling goggles are very effective and if you are expecting to ride in an area of lots of dirt, dust, debris (such as rocks and branches) getting kicked up, then you may want to go to full goggles. The bonus is they tend to fit over everyday prescription glasses.

Are Some Options Better To Provide More Eye Protection?

Cycling sunglasses are primarily designed to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays and also from debris kicked up by passing cars. The best cycling sunglasses offer a high level of protection from both types of hazards.

If you can get sunglasses with UV400 protection, it’ll protect against 99.9% of UVA and UVB sun rays. That’s about the best you can get, so the closer you can get to this rating the better.

Polarized glasses are great for cycling. They will block out the most direct sun light and also get rid of that annoying glare you can get off of windows and windshield.

Certain lens colors provide a little more protection against sunlight wavelengths than others. Generally speaking the blue lenses block the worst of the UV rays but compared to the UV protection film added to the glasses it’s a minor point.

There are many different colors you can get sunglasses in. Each blocks certain wavelengths so each has a use which I won’t get into here. However, the black and gray tints are good to block most sun rays for daytime use.

Beyond that, just find a pair that stays in place so they’ll work to protect your eyes. There are a lot of choices out there when you are looking for a pair of cycling glasses, but I usually start with the ones that are tried and true and go from there to find the right pair for you. If you are trying to keep costs down, buy cheap cycling sunglasses and save a few bucks. Many of them have the same options but at a discount.

Just remember that getting a good pair is the key because sunglasses protect eyes. It’s important to take care of your eyes so they don’t get damaged by the sun or objects.

About the Author

Tony K

Senior Technical Writer,

Tony K is a technical editor at He has a focus on downhill bike riding but still loves xc bikes too.

With more than ten years of mountain biking experience and more than 5 years testing mountain bikes, Tony has ridden and tested hundreds of different bikes and products, everything from XC to enduro bikes. Tony regularly competes in mountain bike races while seeing how long those compontents can hold up which gives me a lot of insight.

When he isn't shredding down a mountain or camping out, he is writing reviews for Mountain Bike Experience.

Rides: Surly Lowside, Canyon Exceed