There are a number of ways in which sports performance can be boosted with the use of contact lenses, including by offering a considerably wider view than is the case with the great majority of eyeglasses. A large number of people suffer from vision problems such as the likes of nearsightedness, astigmatism and farsightedness and thus require corrective lenses and it is inevitable that at least some athletes will also encounter this problem. The majority of athletes in this situation decide to use contact lenses rather than eyeglasses due to the fact that they often provide a competitive advantage. Athletes who are do not usually choose contact lenses for daily life as they can be uncomfortable when word for long periods may still opt to make use of them during sporting activities because of this.
What advantages do contact lenses offer during sport?
In comparison with eyeglasses there are a number of ways in which contact lenses give an advantage in the form of enhanced vision while partaking in sporting events, such as offering:
- An unobstructed and very wide point of view, as there is nothing to distort or block an athlete’s vision as can be the case with eyeglasses. Surroundings are more easily visible, which means that athletes are able to react much more quickly to what is happening around them, including other players, balls and other objects.
- A decreased likelihood of injury, as contact lenses will not break and end up causing an eye injury in the event that an athlete takes a hit during a game, something that is definitely a risk factor with eyeglasses.
- An increase in peripheral vision, Peripheral vision can be significantly limited by small frames and flat lenses provided by the majority of prescription eyeglasses, and this is particularly unhelpful during sport.
- A reduction in the chances of being splattered or vision fogging up, as contact lenses generally remain clear in spite of weather conditions like rain or other environmental conditions, factors that can be seriously detrimental to eyeglasses.
- An increase in safety equipment compatibility, as contact lenses will not interfere with either the comfort or fit of safety devices that are used in certain sports such as protective goggles or head gear.
- An increased stability of vision, as contact lenses remove issues such as eyeglass frames moving with every step taken, slipping down the nose or even falling off altogether. Eyeglasses can also cause vision problems during running, which is again not the case with contact lenses.
Disposable daily contact lenses also offer the advantage of users being able to forget concerns over storage or daily lens care. These disposable and cheap contact lenses can simply be used for one day or one sporting event and then be easily discarded.
GP Contact Lenses
Although soft contact lenses are usually the corrective lenses of choice for athletes, another option is GP contact lenses. These contact lenses, also sometimes referred to as RGP (rigid gas permeable) lenses, are intended to be worn full-time and offer a number of benefits lacking in soft contact lenses. For one thing, their rigidity means that their shape remains the same in the eye, allowing for superior correction of corneal abnormalities such as astigmatism, with the result being superior vision. GP lenses also enable a greater amount of oxygen to get to the eye, and stay cleaner for a much longer period of time as it is much harder for debris to be able to accumulate as easily on lenses with a hard surface. Dry eyes, which can sometimes be a problem for people who wear soft contact lenses, are also less of an issue due to the fact that GP contact lenses do not absorb moisture, such as tears, from the eyes. On the downside however, the rigidity of these lenses can make it longer for the wearer to be able to adapt to them, making them difficult to just use for on a part-time basis for sporting activities.
The appeal of contact lenses for athletes
Contact lenses provide a more natural kind of vision for the wearer, avoiding the distortion in the size of an image than can sometimes result from eyeglasses. Athletes who tend to engage in their sporting activities in cold weather, such as skiers, and those who must avoid blinking as much as possible, such as racquetball players and goalies, can suffer from dry eyes, making GP lenses likely to be a superior option. However this problem may also be alleviated in other ways, such as with the consumption of oral medications including flaxseed oil and omega-3 fatty acids, which are common in fish oil. For those who struggle with contact lenses and participants in sports such as basketball, wraparound prescription eyeglasses may offer a better solution while also offering protection for the eyes. Athletes should discuss their choices with a sports vision expert before committing to a permanent solution.
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