Surely you’ve heard of them, and you’ve surely heard good opinions. But do you know what photochromic crystals are? If you are a cyclist of marathon disciplines, if you like to roll for hours, and if you are not willing to change lens in your cycling glasses every time there is a change in weather or light, photochromic glasses are the perfect solution . We tell you more about them.
What are photochromic lens?
Stated as simply as possible, a photochromic glass is a type of lens that changes its opacity or its color, adapting to changes in light conditions in the environment. It sounds like a miracle, but it is science: it is a treatment that is projected on the photochromic crystals and that causes a photochemical reaction to darken or lighten the crystal. In fact, it seems magic when you see them the first time and test them in different light conditions: you enter the darkness and become practically transparent crystals, like the famous white lens game that the cycling glasses packs of various lenses; You go out in full sunlight and, in a matter of seconds, the glass looks smoky, darkens and looks like a sun lens to use.
They are not a recent invention. Or at least, there is evidence of early trials back in 1964 with the creation of lenses with crystals with special mineralization that yellowed a bit with sunlight. But it was in the 90s when it exploded its versatility and usefulness and when various investigations led to the achievement of cheaper manufacturing lenses and greater protection, greater contrast between its clear state and its dark state.
Nowadays they are widely used in sports in which the exercise lasts for several hours, since it is more likely that the lighting conditions change. In the cycling glasses its usefulness is magnificent because it is impossible in competition to stop to replace a lens; and as a cyclist it is still too much trouble. With a pair of photochromic cycling glasses you do not need anything else but to put them on and go out to roll: you will always see with the same clarity, it does not matter if the solo is hidden.
Yes, look carefully because the quality of photochromic lenses will depend on their clarity and darkening well and, above all, when they are in a lightened mode due to lack of light, they do not remain in a yellowish tone that is quite annoying and aesthetically quite ugly.
Advantages and disadvantages of cycling glasses with photocromic lens
Of course, like any product, not all are advantages. Although positive points do predominate, normally photochromic glasses in cycling glasses also have their weak points. We detail them, starting with the advantages:
Its usefulness is its main point in favor since, as we have pointed out in this article, you do not need to wear other lenses or stop to change it during the march. And is that the photochromic glass will adapt to changes in light either by a change of area (light or shade) or a change in weather (clear weather or cloudy weather).
The photochromic glasses in cycling glasses have almost total or total UVA protection. That is, they protect against all rays with wavelengths that are harmful to the human eye.
The photochromic lenses improve the contrast, so that the cyclist can have a better detail of the terrain on which he will roll in the following meters, avoiding lack of detail or glare that puts the cyclist at risk.
The photochromic layer has been applied to any view lens, therefore, another point in favor is that it is possible to wear graduated cycling glasses with photochromic glasses.
It will allow you to have a pair of glasses for everything, without having to change your glasses but also avoiding the costs of graduating several lenses: with which you graduate your photochromic lenses will be more than enough.
On the other hand, although it is difficult to find their weak points, photochromic lenses have also suffered some criticism, especially:
Because the capacity of photochromic variation is losing properties over time, so it takes longer to adapt to changes in light and does not reach such extreme values.
One consequence of the abuse of photochromic lenses in cycling glasses is that getting used to them can cause later sunlight to bother you more. Therefore, it is advisable to use photochromic cycling glasses only during the bike route, regardless of them once we get off the bike.
However, putting in a balance pros and cons, it is an ideal option for the practice of cycling, being a sport that occupies all four limbs and that makes it impossible to replace a lens of cycling glasses on the move. For this reason, and for the variations that a cyclist can find in routes of tens of kilometers, cycling glasses with photochromic glasses are highly recommended. Although the price is slightly higher, you will forget to change the lenses and you will forget that you are wearing cycling glasses.