Dressing for Sport: Glasses vs. Contact Lenses

Dressing appropriately for sport is important. When we get ready for exercise, we should be dressing in order to get the best potential performance and payoff. For most people, the consideration of what to dress yourself in goes as far as flexible, breathable fabrics and decent sports footwear. However, for those of us with sight impairment, there is a whole other, very vital element to consider; contacts or glasses? 

Clear sight is vital when engaging with sports activities. Both contact lenses and sports glasses have their pros and cons when it comes to exercise, but it is not always obvious which option is the most appropriate for the activity in question. Indeed, in some cases there is no choice at all.

Contact Lenses for Sport

When you are moving about a lot, sweating and focusing on your sports activity, the last thing you want to worry about is your glasses slipping off your face. This is where the contact lens trumps glasses during sport and exercise. They don’t require adjustment, they don’t cloud up, they are glare free and rarely fall out. 

All of that being said, they are not always the most appropriate option. During contact sport, they can be dislodged and lost. There is also the issue, if you are playing on sand, grit or dirt, that obstructions can make their way underneath your lens. They also fall short in terms of protection, providing next to none, and cannot be used during water sport. This is where sports glasses and protective eye wear come in…

Glasses for Sport

When we talk about sports glasses, we are not just referring to your everyday specs. Sports glasses have come a long way over the years and now include many purpose-designed products including sunglasses, facemasks, helmets and goggles. 

Glasses may seem the more cumbersome option, but this is not the case with specifically designed eyewear. Although contacts are convenient, they are not as secure as purpose built glasses and are not able to house as much technology. Sports glasses can be reinforced for safety, made light responsive for flexibility, are easier to remove mid-activity and are much harder to misplace.  

When are Glasses the Better Option?

One of the huge advantages to wearing sports glasses is that they offer considerably more protection for your eyes than contact lenses. There are now many products on the market designed for a dual purpose, both for sight enhancement and safety. These are used across a variety of sports from amateur to professional level, and are most commonly seen in heavy contact situations such as hockey, basketball and American football. You may not recall seeing many goggles and glasses in professional sport, as it is still not that common. However, for a little proof, why not look up former NFL player Eric Dickerson, pro Lacrosse player Casey Powell or Olympian Michael Phelps. 

bike glasses

Sports glasses are also a great option if the light is likely to change significantly throughout your activity. For example, in golf, you are constantly changing your orientation to the sun and the weather can be changeable. In this case, having something you can easily remove, or that has a light sensitive lens is far more convenient. 

Glasses are also great for endurance sports. Although long wear contacts are available, they are still relatively unreliable, and have a habit of drying out during something like a marathon or triathlon. Glasses are considerably more dependable in this way. 

Essentially, both contacts and glasses have their place in sports, and there are now hundreds of purpose built products on both sides. What is the most important thing is that you carefully consider which option is likely to best help you get the most out of your sporting activities.