Contact lenses are increasingly popular these days, including among athletes. But which are the best?
Serious athletes who need vision correction should consider contact lenses as a great option to reduce some of the negatives that glasses can have on athletic performance.
Contact lenses have many advantages over glasses for athletes.
Since contact lenses sit right on the surface of your eyes, you’ll get crisper vision, with fewer distortions. Additionally, unlike with glasses, your peripheral vision isn’t limited. You also don’t need to worry about reflections like you might need to with glasses.This gives the athlete better vision than glasses of the same strength could provide, which can help improve their performance and potentially also help avoid injury.
Glasses can also move around on your face as you engage in sporting activities and be a distraction, and there is also a risk they could get damaged. Especially in sports where you have to wear headgear, glasses can be more of a liability, and wearing contacts means you won’t need to find prescription eyewear for sports that require eye protection.
No worries about sweat messing with your eyewear, anything getting fogged up, or about having to make adjustments mid-game.
Contact lenses are not recommended for use while you partake in water sports. This is because there’s a risk that bacteria in water can contaminate the lenses and cause infection. Prescription goggles are recommended for water sports.
While contact lenses are clearly a good option for athletes who need vision correction, which types are best?
There aren’t contact lenses that are specifically made for sports. However, some types are better suited. One example is daily disposable lenses, which don’t require the same maintenance as reusable lenses. They are simple to keep extras available and don’t require cleaning.
Soft lenses are usually a better option than hard contact lenses as they move around less and are less likely to fall out during sporting events.
Gas permeable lenses are sometimes recommended for use during sports, as they provide very crisp vision and are breathable, which can be helpful for the eyes as you move about a lot. While they are hard lenses (as opposed to daily disposables, which are soft), the increased performance they can provide may be worth it.
When it comes to hard contact lenses for athletes, scleral lenses are often considered the best option. Athletes can benefit from scleral lenses, which offer amazing vision and provide great results during athletics. Athletes like Brandon Williams from the Baltimore Ravens, Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors, and Diamond DeShields from the Chicago Sky know this firsthand. These star athletes wear scleral contact lenses and now have sharp vision to display their true sporting abilities.
A few benefits of scleral lenses for athletes include:
Ortho-k lenses are a lesser known vision correction alternative that can work extremely well for athletes. Unlike most other contact lenses, ortho-k lenses are worn only overnight. As they are worn at night, these lenses reshape the cornea to correct your vision, and you won’t need to wear anything in or on your eyes throughout the day.
For athletes, this means not having to worry about wearing anything on or in their eyes while engaging in sporting activities. No risk of discomfort from lenses, no risk of lenses falling out or getting out of position in the eyes, no risks of glasses breaking or moving around, all while enjoying crisp vision.
In the U.S, nearly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated in emergency rooms every year. Wearing appropriate protective eyewear can prevent 90% of serious eye injuries. For some athletes who prefer not to wear protective glasses, contact lenses are a great option as they are less likely to cause eye injuries.
As always, it is advised to speak with your eye doctor if you are considering purchasing contact lenses, as they will be best able to discuss your individual needs and make the best possible recommendation for you.