The variety of contact lenses available on the market today have made it possible for people with visual impairments to enjoy sports, while professional athletes can significantly improve their performance. Even if a person prefers wearing glasses, contact lenses are usually the better alternative when engaging in sports activities. Among the advantages are better peripheral vision, unobstructed field of view, a reduced chance of injury and greater vision stability. Let’s not forget that glasses can be a problem in outdoor sports when it rains, plus they usually fog up. In an article for AllAboutVision, Dr Gary Heiting examines various options available to people considering contact lenses for sports.
Most athletes with vision impairments go for soft contact lenses. They are easier to get used to and bigger in diameter than rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses, which makes them hard to dislodge. For people with a general preference for glasses, the best choice for sports is perhaps daily disposable contacts, which can simply be tossed in the bin at the end of the day.
GP lenses have their advantages, too. They produce better results in correcting corneal abnormalities such as astigmatism, often delivering sharper vision. Compared to most soft lenses, GP contacts let through more oxygen, which translates into greater comfort over longer periods. In addition, their hard surface makes it more difficult for debris to accumulate on the lenses. Dry eye is also much less of a problem with GP lenses since they do not absorb tears.
Athletes may also be interested to find out that they can avail themselves of custom-tinted soft contacts. These lenses, typically found in amber and gray-green, filter certain light rays, reducing glare and improving contrast.
Finally, there is a way to avoid contact lens wear completely during sports activity although it does involve some lens wear. This option is provided by orthokeratology, also known as ortho-k or corneal refractive therapy. It involves wearing specially designed GP contacts during sleep. Vision is corrected through eye reshaping and there is no need to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day.