There are many options available to adults and children for corrective lenses (glasses and contacts) when engaged in physical activities.
Here is a look at the different modalities and the pros and cons of each:
Prescription Sports Goggles (e.g., Rec Specs)
The main benefits of goggles while playing sports are vision stability and eye protection. When playing fast-moving sports--like basketball, soccer, and rugby--elbows, wrists, and heads fly around at high speed, increasing the risk of eye injury. The eyes and eye sockets can be protected when covered by shatter-proof lenses. Additionally, there is no worry over having a contact lens pop out of the eye, which can be a debilitating experience for some people. The main drawback to goggles is that they can be cumbersome, decrease peripheral vision, and fog up. Additionally, very high prescriptions might not be available due to frame limitations. On the whole, this is a very good option for many people. One additional advantage to sports goggles is that they can often be made with Transitions lenses, providing automatic sun protection in bright light.
For many people, the best visual option is contact lenses, particularly soft contact lenses. The main benefits include no decrease in visual field, no fogging of lenses, and no unsightly, heavy glasses. But where sports goggles shine, contact lenses fall short--there is a higher risk of injury, the possibility of less stable vision (especially when wearing multifocal or astigmatic lenses), and the potential of a lens falling out during activities. Gas permeable (hard) lenses are not recommended for sports.
For those whose prescriptions are not so high as to prevent proper functioning without correction, wearing no correction whatsoever is a fine choice. I’m often asked by parents whether their child absolutely needs to wear correction when they are playing sports. It really depends on how high the prescription is and the activity in which the child is engaged. If someone can see well enough to perform the goals without being hindered, not wearing any correction is perfectly fine.
There are plenty of options available for athletes. Visit your eye doctor to see what the best option is for your particular needs.
Article contributed by Dr. Jonathan Gerard
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