Athletes and fitness enthusiasts know the struggle of eyeglasses while engaging in their favorite activities. Glasses can fog up, slide down your sweaty nose, or even break during a particularly rough game. What if you could bypass these hindrances and step up your game? Yes, the game-changer is contact lenses. However, the switch is not always smooth sailing. If you've ever questioned comfort, hygiene, and safety when running or playing sports with contacts, this comprehensive guide is for you.
Why Contact Lenses?
Glasses will always have their place. They correct vision and have become a fashionable accessory too, but when it comes to sports, their limitations become glaringly obvious. Fogging up, distorted peripheral vision, risk of injury from breakage – the list goes on. Now, enter the hero of our story – contact lenses.
Benefits of Wearing Contacts in Sports
Contact lenses outshine glasses in sports for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, they offer an unrestricted field of vision, ensuring that athletes are not missing out on peripheral action. You won't find your lenses steaming up in the middle of a run or during a heated match, unlike glasses.
Secondly, contact lenses remain stable on your eye. You don't have to worry about them slipping off or bouncing around during vigorous movement. Imagine a high-octane basketball game or a strenuous yoga pose – your contacts stick with you, literally and figuratively.
Moreover, contact lenses are compatible with safety equipment. They fit comfortably under helmets, goggles, and shields, ensuring safety alongside optimal vision. In essence, contact lenses become an extension of you, enhancing your athletic performance rather than hindering it.
Choosing the Right Contact Lenses
Finding the right contact lenses can be a journey, but it's worth it. It's crucial to choose lenses that cater to your needs and lifestyle. There are two primary types – soft lenses and speciality lenses.
Soft Contact Lenses
These lenses are a favorite among the general population and most athletes. Why, you ask? Soft lenses offer a comfortable fit right from the start. They adapt to the shape of your eye and cover the entire cornea, reducing the risk of dislodging during vigorous activities.
They are also less likely to trap dust and debris, making them a practical choice for outdoor sports. However, they require regular replacement and diligent care to prevent protein buildup and infections.
Speciality Contact Lenses
Speciality lenses, including rigid gas permeable lenses (RGPs), hybrids and scleral lenses, might not offer immediate comfort like soft lenses, but they have their perks. They are sturdy, offer crisp vision, and are long-lasting. These lenses are a suitable choice for athletes who have astigmatism or other specific vision issues that can't be adequately corrected with soft lenses.
However, they do have a higher chance of dislodging during intense physical activity. So, it's essential to have a frank conversation with your eye care professional about the pros and cons before opting for these lenses.
Preparing for Sport with Contacts
Like any athlete, your contacts also need the right preparation before they can take on the field, or in this case, your eyes.
Contact Lens Hygiene
Hygiene is crucial when it comes to contact lenses. Make sure your hands are squeaky clean and dry before handling your lenses. Dirty hands can transfer bacteria to the lenses, leading to severe eye infections. Always use the prescribed solution for cleaning, rinsing, and storing your lenses. Water, whether from the tap, bottle, or even distilled, is a no-go. It can harbor microorganisms that are harmful to your eyes.
Proper Insertion and Removal
Insert your contacts before putting on makeup or applying sports creams. And remember to take them off before washing or showering after your activities. It's like your contacts are your first line of defense when you step onto the field and the last to retreat when you call it a day.
Tips for Comfort and Safety
Now that you have your contacts in, let's talk about keeping your eyes comfortable and safe.
Protecting Your Eyes
Sporting equipment, like goggles or sunglasses, can provide an extra layer of protection. Not only do they shield your eyes from dust and debris, but they also reduce the risk of your contacts drying out, especially in windy or sunny conditions.
Dealing with Irritation and Dryness
Feeling a little dryness or irritation is not uncommon, especially when you're new to contact lenses. Use preservative-free lubricating drops or lubricating drops approved for use with contacts to keep your eyes hydrated. If the irritation persists, it's time to consult your eye doctor.
Running and playing sports with contacts can be a life-changing experience. It's about choosing the right contacts, taking care of hygiene, inserting and removing them properly, and ensuring your eyes are protected and comfortable. It might seem overwhelming initially, but soon, it becomes a part of your routine, like lacing up your shoes before a run.
Addressing Common Concerns With Contacts
Many athletes, especially beginners, often have concerns when it comes to switching from glasses to contact lenses. It's a whole new territory that seems daunting. However, most of these concerns can be addressed with the right guidance and practices.
Contacts and Sweating
Sweating is a significant part of sports, but it's not your contacts' best friend. Sweat trickling into your eyes can cause your lenses to feel uncomfortable. A simple solution is to wear a sweatband or a cap. This way, you can keep the sweat at bay and focus on your performance.
Losing or Breaking Lenses
The fear of losing or breaking lenses is another common concern. However, it's relatively rare for a contact lens to 'fall out'. They are designed to fit securely on your eye. As for breaking, unlike glasses, contact lenses do not 'break' in a way that would harm your eye. If a lens rips or tears, it should be replaced immediately.
Transitioning From Glasses to Contacts
Transitioning from glasses to contacts is like learning to ride a bike. It might seem challenging initially, but with patience and practice, it becomes second nature.
Give Yourself Time
It's essential to give yourself time to adjust. Begin by wearing your contacts for a few hours each day and gradually increase the time. Patience is key here.
Consistency is Key
Wear your lenses consistently. The more you wear them, the faster your eyes will adjust. It's similar to training for a sport. The more consistent you are, the better you become.
FAQs About Playing Sports With Contacts
Can I swim with contact lenses?
It's not advisable to swim with contact lenses as it can increase the risk of eye infections.
How often should I replace my contacts?
The frequency depends on the type of lenses. Daily disposables are for single use, whereas monthly or yearly lenses require proper cleaning and storage.
Can contacts fall out during sports?
It's rare, especially with soft lenses. However, if it happens, replace them with a fresh pair.
What should I do if my eyes are constantly dry?
Use lubricating eye drops. If the problem persists, consult your eye doctor.
Can I sleep with my contacts in?
Unless prescribed by your doctor, it's not safe to sleep with contacts as it can lead to eye infections or ulcers.