Updated: Nov 19, 2019
I've been wearing contact lenses for 30 years with no problems. I started out with daily wear then moved to extended wear for the last...probably 20 years. Never had any problems and though I'd never admit it to the eye doctor, I slept in them way more than I should have, leaving them in until they irritated me enough to take them out! I know, bad, bad habit, but hey, I don't smoke and rarely drink so I figure I'm doing ok.
However, last year my contacts starting bothering me so much that I had to pull off the road during several rides to pull those buggers out. That was the only answer, adding moisture drops, no matter the brand, gave zero relief. I finally decided a visit to the eye doc was required and when I told him the symptoms he diagnosed me without even blinking as my own eyelids fluttered in agony like a butterfly in a sand storm. His suspicion was confirmed with a peeling back of the eye lid, just like all the boys used to do in elementary school to gross out the girls. "Yep, giant papillary conjunctivitis", he said. What is that? Turns out it's pretty common thing that can be allergy related and as in my case, the result of my eyelids finally saying, in their Cartman like voice, "screw you guys", to the contact lenses. The remedy? A prescription steroid of eye ointment, glasses only for at least 3 months and switch over to daily disposable contacts.
Since I already had glasses, as an extreme, only if absolutley neccessary, back up to contacts, that was no problem. But wearing them inside the helmet was a different story. The frames I had were fine normally but after about 10 minutes squeezed inside the helmet they became down right painful to the ears and temples. So I did some research and found that some people recommended using a thin wire frame style of glasses which they then snip off the ear pieces, creating a straight line over the ear with no wrap. Good idea, not so good of a look for me, John Boy Walton I ain't! That just seemed far too studious for motorcycle helmets. So I started looking at dedicated sport glasses. There are lots of them out there on the internet and some are quite pricey. I knew that the lenses themselves would be expensive, so I wanted as cheap a frame as I could find without looking "Urkel-ish". Where to go for cheap anything? Walmart of course! They had some sport frames made by Liberty Sport for $30 and that's my kinda price point.
Even though the ear pieces are large, at least they're flat and flexible so they're not
fighting the helmet's inner padding. But the most important thing about these frames is that, in addition to looking like a bad-ass, bike riding Bono, all of a sudden I have peripheral vision! Regular glasses without the curved frame always create that "fuzzy zone" for us occul-arly challenged people. Straight ahead - nice and clear, but everything to the side-always looks like an out of focus Monet painting and that's really
blurry! With the curved frame, I can now glance sideways and see clearly which is a great advantage since the helmet is somewhat visually impairing by nature. Now I can move my eyes anywhere as needed and see exactly what's what...including that distracted knucklehead coming up behind me who's trying to talk, text and futz with that mp3 player all while paying as little attention to actual driving as possible!
So, that's my spin on the inner helmet dynamics for the visually challenged! Glasses are expensive and having a dedicated pair of helmet worthy lenses is not always an option, but, if you're one of my four-eyed biker bros or cycle sisters, you might consider one of these sport style frames if you can swing it. For the safety aspect of good vision alone, I'd say they're worth it, but you can also rock that Kareem Abdul Ja-biker look, too!