Contact lenses have been a long established solution to poor vision in sport. Many sportsmen over the last few years have reported the benefits of wearing lenses instead of glasses.
One sport that they have had a significant impact on is cricket. Long gone are the generation of batters, such as Geoffery Boycott and David Steele, who had some of the greatest runs in history, with a pair of spectacles perched on the end of their nose. In fact Daniel Vettori of New Zealand remains the only cricket player at a top level in international cricket wearing glasses.
The conversion to contact lenses from glasses has been a gradual process in sport, but has significant benefits.
In cricket for example, there is a high risk that your glasses might slip from your nose and either stall or ruin your game. This risk is eliminated by wearing contact lenses. You have more freedom of movement, while maintaining crisp vision.
Cricket isn’t the only game that sportsmen have benefitted from wearing lenses. Take a look at the ways that performance can be boosted in many popular sports:
High Contact Sports
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Wearing glasses is almost completely pointless in sports that involve high levels of physical contact such as rugby and wrestling. There is an extremely high risk that glasses would be either knocked off your face, or completely damaged during the sport.
The glasses frame will also block some of your vision. Having a good peripheral vision will enable you to have a better view of your surroundings and opponents – in a sport such as rugby it would help you plan your dodge of an oncoming tackle.
Glasses aren’t great for helmet sports full stop. The combination of helmet and glasses can be awkward and uncomfortable.
If you wear glasses you may run the risk of your vision becoming distorted by water droplets on the lens, or them fogging up if the weather conditions change.
In professional cycling it is common practise to protect your eyes from the elements by wearing goggles, and it can be difficult to fit a pair of glasses underneath.
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In most ball sports, such as basketball, the game runs at a very fast pace. This means that you need to be aware of the position of all of the players and the ball at all times. You essentially need 360 degree vision. And a glasses frame can cut into this.
The glasses lens can also sometimes give a reflection, which could sometimes lead to a distorted image. This is obviously not ideal while playing a sport that is highly focused on accuracy.
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In racquet sports such as tennis and squash there is a huge reliance on hand-eye-coordination.
Contact lenses have fewer minification and magnification effects than glasses do. This means that the size of a viewed object is more constant.
This is hugely beneficial in sport as it gives you a better level of depth perception, and accuracy.
Although contact lenses are great for many sports, they are not recommended for swimming or other water sports. This is because water contains bacteria, which can have a damaging impact on eyes if trapped behind the lenses.
If you are thinking of wearing contact lenses for sport, it is recommended to wear daily disposable lenses as they can be thrown away once you’ve finished exercising. This is to reduce the chance of returning any bacteria that might have got caught under the eye during the sport.
Always visit your Optician to get advice on the best type of contact lenses for you and your chosen sport.
Steph McLean works at Lenstore, a contact lens ecommerce retail that sells top brands such as 1 Day Acuvue. Steph is a sporting enthusiast, and enjoys writing about different sports.