Contact Lenses and Sports

Contact lenses offer considerable advantages over spectacles for sport. Advantages over spectacles are larger field of view and unaffected by bad weather. With contact sports, both player and opponents are safer with no spectacle frame.

Stability is the prime consideration with sport. Wearing soft contact lenses will give virtually no risk of loss from the eye, even with contact sports and able to give consistent vision despite rapid eye movements. For serious sporting use where optimum acuity is required, toric soft contact lenses are often preferable, even to correct a small degree of astigmatism. The main disadvantage is lens dehydration.

Specific application;

Swimming

Contact lenses are not recommended for swimming unless well-fitted goggles are worn.  Soft contact lenses, if used carefully, have been worn fairly successfully. Some patients are very sensitive to chlorine absorbed by the lenses and may show conjunctival injection after several hours after exposure. This can even occur when lenses have been removed during swimming, but replaced before the chlorine has been eliminated from the eyes.

It should also be remember that swimming pools are a frequent source of ocular infection, and micro-organisms such as Acanthamoeba may be unaffected by chlorine disinfection.

Diving

Good results have been obtained with various water content soft lenses when used for scuba diving, with little risk of displacement. Air bubbles tend to form beneath lenses at depths of about 150ft (45m).

Skiing

Most forms of contact lens prove very successful for skiing. It is essential to use either goggles or large sunglasses to give protection from wind and cold and prevent soft lens dehydration.

Climbing at high altitude

High oxygen transmissibility soft lenses should be used because of the reduced level of oxygen in the atmosphere at high altitude. Extended wear may be well preferred to avoid cold weather difficulties with both handling and solutions.

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