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Contact Lenses and Sports: Yay or Nay?

a variety of sports equipment

Lovers of the great outdoors and physical activity also love wearing contact lenses. Are glasses or contacts better when playing sports? It isn’t much of a debate! Contact lenses win. Without contact lenses, sports would be difficult. Athletes would have to wear a strap, sports goggles, or try to play without 20/20 vision. These options are not as convenient as contacts. That’s why contact lenses and sports go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Can I Wear Contacts While Playing Sports?

men playing basketball on a court

Yes, you absolutely can wear contact lenses while playing sports. In fact, eye doctors recommend contact lenses because they are safer. Think about it. The lenses in eyeglasses can break and cause eye injuries. Not only that, but glasses don’t provide peripheral vision, so it is easy to miss a ball coming at your head.

Did you know that you cannot wear eyeglasses while playing some sports? It’s true. Glasses are not allowed when playing professional rugby, boxing and football.

You may be able to wear glasses in beginner leagues. But, more advanced leagues ban eyeglasses.

Aside from breakage and poor peripheral vision, eyeglasses and sports don’t mix because glasses:

Wearing contacts removes all these issues!

What About Contacts and Water Sports?

woman doing the butterfly swim stroke in a pool

Water sports are the one exception to the rule. When playing a water sport, you should not wear contact lenses. When your contacts are exposed to water of any kind, you risk getting:

Water contains viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that are not good for your eyes. Even if you are in salt water or a chlorinated pool, you are at risk. Both the salt and chemicals used can irritate your eyes. For those playing water sports, consider buying prescription goggles.

If you do swim wearing your contacts, you should wear goggles that do not leak. Then, once you are done swimming, clean and soak your contacts for a full 24 hours to kill any microorganisms that could hurt your eyes. You may also want to look into daily disposable contacts that you can throw away once you are finished swimming.

Eye Injuries and Sports

man with eye injury

Over 100,000 eye injuries happen each year due to playing sports. These injuries range from simple abrasions to the loss of an eye.

The most common sport that causes eye injuries for kids ages 5 to 14 is baseball. For those 15 to 24 year olds, the culprit is basketball.

Nonetheless, contacts are still the best vision correction for sports. However, you may want to combine contacts with other protective face gear recommended by the sport you play. This can include:

The Pros and Cons of Glasses for Sports

man wearing glasses and carrying his bike on his shoulder



Pros and Cons of Prescription Sports Goggles

sports goggles, helmet and winter gloves with mountains in background



Pros and Cons of Contacts and Sports

woman jogging next to green trees

Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of wearing contacts while playing sports.



What Are the Best Contact Lenses in the United States for Sports?

contact lenses for sports with water drops on gray background

The type of contact lens to wear for sports depends on your prescription and the sport you play. Here are some examples:

Luckily for you, contact lenses and sports go together. You do not have to let your eyesight keep you from doing what you enjoy. Instead, keep your eyes safe and healthy by wearing the right contact lenses for the job!

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