I'm a student pilot and I won't be able to wear sunglasses for 5 months... Now, how am I going to fly? I know you don't have to wear them but it's easier (brightness etc. etc.). Are there any alternatives you can give for flying? I've never tried a hat, is that a good option for the moment? Maybe it's a silly question but do sunglass contact lenses exist?
I've been flying for over twenty years. I've never once worn sunglasses or a hat in the cockpit, with exception of a view limiting device (i.e. hood). I understand why many pilots wear sun glasses and have nothing against it, but for me I feel like it hinders my vision more than helps.
You can fly just fine without sun glasses. One thing that might help, is to make sure you wipe down your windshield before flight to make sure its clean and clear, in order to reduce glare.
A baseball cap might be a good idea if your airplane doesn't have sun visors.
You should be totally fine. Flying without sunglasses is like flying without noise cancelling headsets. Its a creature comfort, but not absolutely necessary for safe operation.
The nice thing about polycarbonite windshields is that they block the bulk of the UV, which is the primary reason protection sought by sunglasses.
The DPE who administered my private checkride told me that he found that wearing sunglasses created a dependency on them, in his opinion. I changed my ways, and concur with his finding. My ophthalmologist agrees.
To address the question about contact sunglass lenses...
Contact lenses are available with custom dyes, used for examples by actors to create eye colors not inherent to the actor. Similarly, contacts can be obtained with tint which would attenuate the visible light, in a manner similar to sunglasses.
You should talk with a contact lens dispenser, as they will have access to the offerings of their suppliers.
It wasn't clear from your original post exactly why you cannot wear sunglasses. I wasn't aware of any restrictions (at least in the United States) on student pilots wearing them.
While @Devil07 is correct that sunglasses are not strictly required for safety purposes, they do offer vital protection against damage to your eyes. To quote the American Optometric Association's article Why you need sunglasses, you need sunglasses for:
- UV protection. The sun's UV radiation can cause cataracts, benign growths on the eye's surface, and cancer of the eyelids and skin around the eyes. UV radiation can also cause photokeratitis, sometimes called snow blindness, which is a temporary but painful sunburn of the eye's surface. Wide-brimmed hats and caps can only block about 50 percent of UV radiation from the eyes.
- Blue light protection. Long-term exposure to the blue and violet portion of the solar spectrum is a risk factor for macular degeneration, especially for people who are sun-sensitive.
- Comfortable vision. The sun's brightness and glare interferes with comfortable vision. Sunlight affects clear vision by causing people to squint and the eyes to water.
- Dark adaptation. Spending just two or three hours in bright sunlight can hamper the eyes' ability to adapt quickly to nighttime or indoor light levels. This can make driving at night more hazardous.
I should note that I actually don't wear sunglasses...I wear prescription glasses with transition lenses that provide some of the protections mentioned above.
You also asked about contact lenses. The AOA also has an article on contact lenses that provide UV protection.