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Vision Needs of Athletes

Posted by Ilena Di Toro | Posted on June 14, 2016

In addition to being in good physical shape, athletes need to have excellent vision. They need to be able to react to what is happening and anticipate what will happen. The average eyeglasses aren’t made for the demands of collegiate and professional sports. So, what is a myopic athlete to do?

There are vision solutions to help athletes see and perform better. They include:

Contact lenses
Yes, the humble contact can be a huge help to an athlete from the weekend warrior to the professional. They increase peripheral vision, there are no distortions, and there is no trouble from rain, dirt or fog. In addition, there is less likelihood of the contacts breaking during the course of play and that in turn reduces the likelihood of injuries. Not to mention contacts are more compatible with safety equipment. On top of all these benefits, there are even tinted contacts that function like sunglasses. They protect the eyes from UV rays, reduce glare and improve contrast, all of which help the athlete to keep his or her eye on the ball.

Sport Eyeglasses
As great as contacts are, not everyone can tolerate them. Gas permeable lenses are not recommended for athletes and dust and debris can get into hard contact lenses. That leaves sports glasses. These are eyeglasses that are designed with an athlete in mind. They fit securely, keep eyes safe, and enhance vision. In fact, one lens manufacturer, Shamir, partnered with a sports eyewear maker, Rudy Project, to offer frames with prescription sunglass lenses. The lenses come in single vision and progressive and are designed to withstand rough wear.

What if the athlete doesn’t want to wear contacts and he or she still wants vision correction? There’s orthokeratology, the fitting of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that are worn overnight. The lenses reshape the cornea so that the person can see clearly when removing the lenses upon waking. This is an option if person isn’t a candidate for LASIK. This is also good if an athlete participates in outdoor sports during allergy season, since pollen, dust and other allergens can get stuck on the lenses.

Now athletes have options when it come to improving vision. Of course, when vision improves, so does sports performance. Yet, these aren’t one size fits all solutions. So, it is best to work with patients to find something that fits their athletic and vision needs.


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