Whether you exercise for fun or are a serious competitor, having the best visual correction is paramount for both performance and comfort. Even for those people who do minimal exercise, the last thing you want to be worrying about is an uncomfortable contact lens or your glasses steaming up!
Provided you are suitable, contact lenses are certainly a better option than glasses as they are generally less likely to interfere with your exercising. However, certain contact lenses are going to be better for you depending on the exact type of exercise you partake in.
Below are some hints and tips as to what contact lenses are likely to be best for you:
Different brand: Putting all the science to one side for a moment you will generally find that certain brands of contact lenses will be more comfortable for you than others. There are different brands of contact lenses just in the same way that there are different brands of shoes and you may find that one is more comfortable that the other one. This is due to the shape and chemical composition that varies between contact lenses.
Water content: High water content lenses tend to be the most comfortable but they do tend to dry out quicker. If you are involved in endurance events where you need to wear your contact lenses for a long period, you may find low water content lenses are a better option.
High oxygen: As the technology improves with contact lenses, the amount of oxygen they transmit through them increases. Standard lenses are made from standard hydrogels whereas the newer, better performing lenses are made from silicon hydrogels which will let through as much as ten times more oxygen. Whilst this will not necessarily improve the comfort of the lens, it is undoubtedly better for the health of your eyes.
Lens modality: The most common types of contact lenses are monthly or daily contact lenses and generally speaking daily contact lenses are better for sport and exercise. Daily lenses are the ones that you wear for that day and then throw them out at the end of the day. The main reason they are better for sport is there is always the chance that you could lose a lens whilst exercising. If this happens on a regular basis it is much more expensive to keep replacing a monthly contact lens than it is a daily one! Also if your sport involves getting muddy, etc. then hygienically it is better to throw the lens out at the end of the event!
Extended wear contact lenses: These are lenses that can be slept in which is especially great if you take part in endurance events which run over a number of days. These lenses can generally be worn continuously for 30 days providing your optometrist says you are suitable. These lenses are also extremely convenient as you don’t have to remove them and clean them every night. There is however a higher risk of infection with this type of contact lens so you will need to discuss this with your optometrist.
In summary, contact lenses are a fantastic substitute for glasses when it comes to sport and you may find they inspire you to greater sporting achievements. They are generally inexpensive and easy to adapt to, and you are unlikely to feel them in your eye after as little as one hour wearing them.