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Contact Lenses and Playing Sports
Medically reviewed by Sharon Copeland on 19/04/2021
Whether it’s football, basketball, hockey, running or golf, we all want to be at the top of our game when we train and when we compete. Even when we have a casual game with friends, we’d still like to have as many little advantages as possible. Vision-wise, it’s possible to gain an edge when you switch from glasses to contact lenses for your sporting activities.
Is it safe to play sports with contact lenses?
Playing sports while wearing contacts lenses is generally considered safer than wearing glasses and is highly recommended by opticians.
Can I wear contact lenses for all sports?
Contact lenses are suitable for most sports. Wearing contact lenses during water sports, however, should generally be avoided.
Contact lenses and water sports
Wearing contact lenses while swimming should be avoided as waterborne bacteria can interfere with the lenses and cause eye infections.
When scuba diving, it is ok to wear contact lenses under a non-prescription mask; however, if you're still learning, it is not recommended. If you are still learning, you will need to clear your mask, and this lets water back in and out, which can cause a risk of eye infections.
If you're sailing, it's a good idea to safeguard your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses with UV protection. The salty air and wind can cause dry eyes which in turn can make your contact lenses uncomfortable.
Contact lenses for winter sports
Wearing contact lenses can be a real eye-opener for those who enjoy skiing, snowboarding and ice skating. Unlike glasses, your lenses won't fog up, they offer peripheral vision, and they can be worn under sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Advantages of wearing contact lenses for sports
Contact lenses offer several benefits for playing sports when compared to glasses. Lenses could be the ideal choice for your visual correction when you’re out on the field or court.
- Freedom and comfort- to run about without having to worry about spectacles slipping off your face. They very rarely fall out, meaning you can pop a set of lenses in and get involved in the game.
- Improved field of vision -frames won't get in the way of your peripheral vision, and your lenses won't fog up or get dirty, no matter what the weather conditions are.
- Safety-when you wear glasses, there is the possibility that impact from the ball or another player could break your glasses and put your eyes at risk of injury. While you should still watch where you're going in the heat of the game, you won't have to worry about the hazard that fragile glasses can pose.
- Reduces the risk of an eye injury- when engaging in rough contact sports such as martial arts or rugby, contact lenses prevent the risk of broken glass, causing harm to your eyes.
Which contact lenses should I wear for sport?
Choosing the right contact lenses will increase your sporting performance and ensure that you reach your highest potential.
The most popular contact lenses to play sports in are daily contact lenses, or 'dailies', which some regular glasses wearers also rely on when they're out on the court or field. You can apply a fresh pair of daily disposable lenses before game time, then throw them away after to be sure of total hygiene.
Soft lenses made from Silicone hydrogel material are an excellent fit for most active lens wearers and tend to be more popular than gas permeable lenses. They are a safer option for contact sports as they are less likely to become dislodged and can withstand rapid eye movements. The highly breathable material allows up to six times the amount of oxygen to reach the eye than with most other contacts. As well as keeping your eyes moist and fresh, they’re extra resistant to protein build-up, which reduces the risk of picking up any dirt or potential irritants during the game.
Alternatively, if you’re a regular wearer of monthly or two weekly contact lenses, taking a small bottle of solution with you can be a great idea to give your lenses a precautionary clean when you’re finished.
How do I decide which option is best for me?
Before deciding on a contact lens that is best for you, we recommend speaking to your optician. They'll be able to advise you on the best contact lenses for you based on your individual needs and the type of sports you enjoy playing. They will most likely take into account:
- Length of time playing
- Body Contact
- Extreme eye movements
Once you have your prescription, you can get ready to engage in your favourite sporting activities, feeling comfortable and confident.
If you have any questions about sport and which contact lenses to wear, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0800 458 2090, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll help you find the lenses for you.
Quick links:Can I swim with contact lenses?
Travelling with contact lenses
Contact lenses and water