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Contact Lenses for Sports No More Broken Glasses!

Contact Lenses for Sports For the athlete, excellent vision is a must no matter what level he or she is playing at. If the vision is not as crisp and clear as it could be, the athlete not only won't perform as well, but also risks serious harm. It's absolutely essential to have the best vision possible. There are several options for vision correction, including glasses, contact lenses, LASIK surgery and orthokeratology (also known as ortho-k).

All of these options have their pros and cons, including costs and potential risk factors, so it's important to have all the facts before coming to any conclusions. While not right for everyone, contact lenses are a happy medium for many people in that they're relatively affordable, easy to use and care for and eliminate some of the drawbacks of wearing eyeglasses while avoiding both the risks of surgery and the expense of ortho-k. Even if you would prefer to stick to glasses for long term wear off the field, you should still explore the advantages of wearing contact lenses during play.

Enhanced vision with contact lenses
Contacts sit right on your eye, meaning that you can look off to the side and see as well as you do when you are looking straight ahead. With eyeglasses, you have limited peripheral vision, and the frames can cause blind spots in your visual field. This is particularly dangerous in sports where balls, pucks or other players could be coming at you from the side.

In addition, frames, even when they are fitted properly, can slide around on your face or worse, can drop off during a game. Glasses can also break during play, increasing your risk of facial and eye injuries during all types of sports, even those that are considered to be no contact. Another advantage of contacts lenses is that they fit under all of the different types of safety equipment. A hockey goalie wouldn't exactly be comfortable with a pair of glasses under his face mask.

Contact lens options for athletes
For the serious athlete, the rigid gas permeable contact lens is typically the recommended choice of sports vision specialists for a number of reasons.

  • They hold their shape while on the eye. (Soft contacts may flatten out at times.)
  • They offer better correction of astigmatism and other corneal abnormalities that might be difficult to correct with other types of contact lenses.
  • They allow more oxygen to flow to the eye, which makes them more comfortable for longer wear.
  • The hard surface of RGP lenses doesn't collect debris easily, so they will stay cleaner.
  • RGP lenses do not absorb the tears from the eyes, so you are less likely to have uncomfortable, dry eyes than with soft contacts.

RGP lenses do have drawbacks however. They can be harder to get used to than soft lenses, and are more likely to end up off-center or dislodged during play. You should discuss the pros and cons of each with your eye doctor before making a final decision.

Staying safe while wearing contacts
There are a number of things you have to consider about your safety when wearing contact lenses. First, no matter what type you are wearing, you must make sure that you are handling, wearing and caring for your lenses properly, to reduce your risk of complications including eye damage or infection. If you are on the road a lot, you may want to consider single-use soft contact lenses. These lenses are worn for one day only, and then thrown away, so you won't have to bother with nightly cleaning or worry about packing solutions and cases. (Just be sure to pack some extra lenses in case of a mishap.)

Second, contact lenses do not provide adequate UV protection for the entire eye, so you'll still have to wear UV-blocking sunglasses or goggles when you're playing outside.

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