A Clearer View

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Contact Lenses: A Safe Option for Kids Who Play Sports?

by Damion Wasylow 21 March 2022 11:06 AM

girls basketball team
More than 25% of children ages 2-17 wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Many children and teens prefer contacts for daily wear, as they allow for a more natural look and feel. For parents, however, one major concern is whether it’s safe for kids to wear contacts when playing sports.

Are Contact Lenses Safe for Kids Who Play Sports?

Yes, children who play sports can wear contact lenses. In fact, contacts are one of the safest types of corrective eyewear for physical activity. Eyeglasses can easily be knocked off by contact or slide down the nose during gameplay. Children are more likely to lose their eyeglasses when playing sports, and if they break during a game or practice, they can injure the eyes. 

Glasses are so risky that some sports have banned them, including boxing, football and rugby. They make it difficult or impossible to wear properly fitted face masks, helmets and other headgear. 

Safety aside, contacts are often better for performance. Glasses do not correct peripheral vision, whereas contacts do. This means that your child is more likely to see the ball or other player out of the corner of their eye. 

The Benefits of Wearing Contacts While Playing Sports

There are many advantages to wearing contacts while playing sports, including:

  • Increased comfort. Overall, many kids find it more comfortable to wear contact lenses while playing sports. When properly worn, contacts aren’t noticeable. In addition, kids don’t have to worry about eyeglasses sliding or moving around on their faces.
  • Weather isn’t an issue. With eyeglasses, raindrops can interfere with your vision. Fogging is also common with glasses, especially when playing sports. However, because contact lenses sit on top of the eye, weather and fogging will never be a problem.
  • No glares or reflections. Eyeglasses are prone to glares and reflections that can strain the eyes and make it difficult to see clearly while playing sports. Contacts eliminate these issues.

Are Contacts Safe for Water Sports?

Contacts are the better option for land sports, but what about water sports? Water sports are the one exception where it’s impractical or even unsafe for kids to wear contacts.

Wearing contacts while swimming or playing other competitive water sports increases the risk of:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Eye irritation
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Loss of vision

Chlorinated and salt water can irritate the eyes. Fresh water may contain bacteria or microbes that can cause infections or other issues.

Eyeglasses, of course, aren’t feasible for water sports. So, prescription goggles are the best solution.

With the exception of water sports, if your child needs corrective eyewear to play sports, contact lenses are typically the safe and comfortable solution. There’s no need to worry about lenses shattering and injuring the eyes, and the risk of losing contacts during practice or games is minimal.

If your child needs vision correction for any activity, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule an appointment.



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