A look at vision options for athletes

Updated: January 14, 2014

Generally speaking, there are three main options (with laser eye surgery also possible in some cases): contact lenses, glasses, or special prescription goggles for your sport. Here we’ll delve into some of the factors that go into each choice.

Contact Lenses

    • Contacts offer the best range of motion, simply because there is never a concern of their falling off, getting scratched, etc. For this reason some athletes prefer them for particularly mobile sports.


    • As noted in an Acuvue article on contact lenses and sport, contacts also provide the best range of peripheral vision. Glasses and goggles, on the other hand, can limit your vision to the sides and below.


    • Contact lenses also allow outdoor athletes the option to wear sunglasses, which can be handy in many athletic environments.



    • For athletes who are simply sensitive to contact lenses, glasses offer the most convenient and comfortable options while negating the potential issue of eye discomfort.


    • Glasses can, however, be prone to slippage (particularly when one is sweaty). And in some cases, they can even fall off, creating very inconvenient and occasionally dangerous situations.


    • In addition to limiting peripheral vision, glasses can cause obstructions by becoming foggy, scratched, smudged, etc.


Prescription Sports Goggles

    • For a price, sports goggles can provide the best of both worlds: they’re secure and comfortable but won’t impact your eyes directly.


    • Still, goggles can succumb to some of the same issues athletes see in glasses: smudging, fogginess, and occasionally problematic peripheral vision.


    • Because prescription goggles can be pricey, Livestrong also discusses the idea of wearing ordinary goggles over one’s glasses. This isn’t an option in every athletic environment, but for some athletes—snowboarders and skiers, for example—it is a solution worth considering.


Ultimately, choosing your eye ware for your sport or athletic activity is a matter of personal preference. And rather than simply choosing what immediately seems most comfortable, consider the above factors when you make your decision. Generally speaking, contacts are the most completely satisfying option. However, for those who can’t fathom using contact lenses, the other options are definitely feasible.

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