Bi-focal glasses for riding

Anyone out there use bi-focals when riding? I’m getting old and it’s got to the stage where I struggle to read the type on my Garmin 830.

Thinking of getting a cycling-appropriate set of glasses with small bi-focal area at the bottom (both clear and tinted) and would appreciate anyone who has done this?

I’ve tried Vari-focals for normal life but found they just made me feel sick as hell!

Thanks, FJ

When I got my cycling glasses, I optimized them for far sight only. They have a very different feel than my regular glasses, far away objects are tack sharp, but reading things close up takes a bit more concentration.

I used some cheap ones from Amazon only about £10 a pair to try it out. They’re sold as safety glasses and come in clear, grey and yellow. Worked very well but were easy to scratch. Then I went and blew a load of dosh (circa £300) on some custom photo-chromatic lenses in Oakley frames that work really well.

You can also buy some stick ons for your current glasses but haven’t tried those and they’re apparently finicky to get on without bubbles and are notorious for falling off.

I use varifocal glasses for normal use. When cycling I use disposable contact lenses. My optician has given me different lenses in each eye, so my left is -2 and my right is -3. Cleverly that means I can see both close up and distance perfectly well. Its a common practice with contact lenses. Works really well. I can see road ahead clearly and read my cycling computer.

Contact lenses have massive advantage that I don’t ruin my nice glasses cycling with crap or a stone hitting them, or wiping crud off them with my shirt, if I have darker glasses on I can remove them when it is shady or very sweaty (Climbing a hill) and still see, and I can change a tyre without struggling to see what I am doing.

Both my contact lenses also adjust for astigmatism.

The problem I had with cycling specific prescription glasses is that they get covered in sweat or whatever and you can’t take them off and then see, or leave them on and see. I once tried glasses behind a perspex sun glasses (Bolle solution) but that was worse as both the external eye shield and the internal glasses steamed up or got rained on and I could not see a thing. Complete (expensive) failure.

I highly recommend trying contact lenses. Your prescription will be slightly different because the lens is closer to your eye, so see a proper optician, explain what you want, try them out and get tested for them. @fhkj

Oh and a neat UK trick. Pay for the eye test, then avoid the “Monthly scheme” and simply buy the lenses from an online shop. Its a lot cheaper and works better as you change seasons and ride less outside. (I have a very old pair of bi-focals for the turbo and TR screen).

I hope that helps.

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I have progressive lenses and have a pair I wear normally and a pair that I use for cycling/running. They are both the same prescription but the pair for riding are rimless and the attachment from the frames to the lenses was made a bit low so that the lenses sit a bit higher on my face. This allows me to get in the aero position and not have to look over the lenses, which can be useful when getting pelted with bugs in the face.

I had a similar problem and several years ago went with the what @PhilSJones described. My initial issue was with trail running: if my contacts were “set” for reading, I could read my watch well but could have a tough time on the trail (and of course scenery). This was amplified on the bike. Using contacts for seeing the trail and road well and I could not read the Garmin that was on my wrist of handlebars. The solution was to have one eye for reading the device (seeing close-up) and the other for distance.

I found this to be the best solution, again for the reasons mentioned above. I’d add that having the contacts gives tremendous flexibility as you can use regular glasses with clear-lenses (for dark/low-light riding), no glasses (for dark/low-light running), or dark tints. Also, I use them for swimming, and thus I don’t need prescription goggles.

Personally, when I’m on the turbo with TR, I don’t need to use the contact. The TR screen (iPhone) is clear enough and the large TV is close enough :slight_smile:

Using your contacts for workouts (the only other reason I wear them is for outings, including long drives, when I’d like to wear sun glasses) does mean you may associate an additional cost for each workout. Once you put in your contacts, you’re committed!

Lastly, I’d recommend dailies / disposables if you can because of the abuse they’ll get. But that’s just me.

I’be been through this, It’d be good for you to talk to your optician because unequal vision causes an issue with depth perception. My eyes aren’t very bad but because of that - and I’m an MTBer picking lines with trees and rocks coming my way - my optician suggested and I went with contacts for mid/long standard prescription with reading glasses for close up stuff to retain depth perception on the bike.

Quite agree with additional points @mountainrunner makes.

On the depth percepion piece. @kryton57 I have had absolutely no problem with it. I guess it might depend how strong your persecription is. I am -4 or a shade less in both eyes with glasses, With the contact lenses, my nearer/mid vision is -2 and closer to -4 with the astigmatism adjustment. So not massively different. As said it is more of a long in one eye and nearer/mid in the other. I suspect near and far would not work as well.

One minor and very unusual point. I am left eyed. That means when I pick up a camera I instinctively look through the viewfinder with my left eye, rather than my right (as most people do). One optician did not pick this up as imprortant, put the nearer contact lens in my right eye and it did not work for me. I was just not happy with my vision. A second optician, picked this up and put the nearer contact lens in my left eye. That was so much better. It sounds silly, but it made a difference. (And no I am neither left haned or left footed - just left eyed).

Just a thought…

I have not tried it but someone in my cycling group uses small stickers that go inside your cycling glasses at the bottom and give you the ability to read your Garmin/Wahoo head unit. They are $20 or so and may be a cheap solution for you.

I’ve had a pair of Rudy Project sunglasses with readers on the bottom that I’ve been wearing for a long while. While they’re not a match to my prescription glasses, they make it so I can easily read the screen on my wahoo or my watch. I’ve been thinking of replacing lately, as I could use a stronger reader. FYI, they’re not invisible bifocals, and you can see the panels if you’re looking for them. All in all, they’ve delivered a ton of value and got the job done. Good luck.

I had to get bi-focals in the past year. If I went full time contacts, I would have to have multiple sets for different activities. So far, we are with one set of contacts so I can race and train. Can barely read the watch / garmin head unit on the bike, but I can see far distance. Then I wear good non-prescription glasses to protect my eyes.

My eye doc really understands sporting needs. I would ask around where you are for one that does. Try contacts for riding.

I’ve been wearing progressives on my regular glasses for 5+ years. This year I upgraded my sunglass lenses to progressives. Very happy. My issue wasn’t reading the Garmin, it was on stops and after the ride - having to remove sunglasses to read phone or menu.

Thanks all for the replies. I’ve got a set of varifocals (progressives?) but they make me feel sick as a pig when I wear them (like car sick) so I haven’t ventured on the bike in them! I’ve ordered some of the stickers from Amazon so will see what they are like then go and see my optician!

Contacts would be great, but I’m struggling to see how this would work. I really only need them for reading/computer use/phone etc - my long-sight is spot on.

Any thoughts welcome!

I use contact lenses for distance when riding. I then can’t read my head unit so I purchased Tifosi Veloce Sunglasses with Reader lenses. I can now see far and close.