Sports and Eye Safety!



Do you have the right glasses lenses and contacts for your sport of choice?  The COMPETITIVE Edge prevails in all aspects of life but none so strong as the playing field in sports.  Some sports are contact, some are not and some are competitive against ourselves.  The fact remains that we are enjoying something physical that relies on our eyes and their protection.

If you are one who likes to participate in an outdoor sports activity of any kind,  you may never have known about the hazards of non protected eyes.  Some people may need visual correction or maybe they don’t.  In either case,  protect your eyes to enjoy your activity.

Some people wear or may need prescription sports Sunglasses, contact lenses or both.  But what about their specific lens options?  Nobody really thinks about what type of impact resistant lenses will make the best corrective and protective decision.


  running shoes and glasses

Accurate, safe sports vision can require multiple pairs depending on the sport or sports. I explain it to patients by telling them that “eyewear is like shoes; different pairs are worn for different activities.”

In addition, how dangerous is your patient’s sport from a visual perspective?  Low-impact and high impact sports dictate that you use different materials.  We use polycarbonate and Trivex materials for impact resistance, depending on the patient’s visual needs and level of sports protection required.

Lens Treatments

Lenses that darken upon exposure to UV on cloudy or sunny days, polarized, anti-glare, sports specific tints, and more becomes confusing for patients and consumers.  They might ask, How can you get this performance enhancing treatment in your sports glasses?

The first step in determining your vision needs is asking, listening, and learning what patients do with their eyes.  This is especially important with sports vision in order to fill the right needs and weed out what won’t work.

Sports specific tints in standard and polarized options, are a growing area of interest with patients today.  They are learning that these lenses sharpen their vision and increase their sports performance.

We’re recommending more and more sports specialized tints like teal for tennis and yellow or copper for hunting and shooting.  There are now more polarized colors available and expansion in regular tints, like specialized colors for pilots.

Polarized lenses are one of the solutions to vision enhancement.  Polarized lenses are a solid solution for water sports, they are not optimal for all sports.

We recommend polarized for outdoor sports with caution.  Polarized lenses for skiing or serious golfing may interfere with viewing terrain surfaces.  Polarization in lenses may cause difficulty in viewing digital devices.  “One driver told me that his digital dashboard blacked out when using polarized lenses.”

Even photochromic lenses are getting into the game as an Rx and plano sports sunwear option. In fact, many sports eyewear makers now offer plano sunwear with light adaptive polarized lenses that change tint relative to the wearer’s light conditions. Sports, such as mountain biking or trail running, where light conditions are changing constantly, photochromics can be a true benefit.

Many parents today are wanting photochromic or transition lenses as a sports solution for their children. Many parents like adaptable lenses, because their kids play multiple sports so they get day-to-night, indoor-outdoor lens performance benefits.  We also fit anti-glare lenses for sports, especially when reflections at night are a consideration, like for those who play soccer or football under the lights.


Contact Lenses

Eyecare professionals and their patients might choose contact lenses as a sports vision solution based on factors including personal preference, comfort, and visual performance.

For safety’s sake, and depending on the visual risk, many situations call for contact lenses combined with non prescription sports eyewear.

We prefer protective eyewear for sports but many patients want to wear contact lenses for sports because some athletes demonstrate better performance and cannot fit sports glasses under their head protection.  Contacts may also have the added benefit of providing peripheral vision.  “When there is a risk of eye injury, like in racket sports, we fit contact lens wearers with sports protective eyewear.  One of the biggest movements in contacts for sports and beyond is daily wear lenses, which can help make wearing contacts for sports easy.

Children are playing at a higher intensity than ever before. More than 40% of parents with children who play organized sports say their children do so year-round according to a report for The Aspen Institute’s Project Play by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harvard, and NPR.  Those parents are also more concerned than ever about their kids’ safety while involved in sports.

The optical industry has responded to this call with a full lineup of sports safety eyewear, taking adult models and downsizing and adapting the technology to the future sports stars of tomorrow in training. While the color palettes may be brighter and the looks more decorative, the performance details remain at the heart of today’s designs.

The scope of protective eyewear is also expanding, growing the potential audience beyond children with vision correction and including all participants in sports to meet the need for eye protection. The National Eye Institute notes that while many youth sports leagues don’t require protective eyewear, parents and coaches should encourage its use.

In addition, many kids’ styles feature stability as a major factor in their safety eyewear, often offering a strap temple option for comfort under helmets and strap-ready openings in temple tips to keep eyewear where it should be;  doing its job and protecting eyes to the max.


Which sports hold the most risk for your youngest patients? The following sports are ranked as the highest risk for eye injuries by the National Eye Institute.









To summarize, no matter the activity or age, sports lenses, materials, colors and certain frames can make the difference in exceptional play but also prevent the loss of an eye.  Parents and adults should be the role models by both explaining and wearing protective lenses themselves so what they preach is acted upon by everyone no matter the age or sport or outdoor activity.

Schedule Your Sports Vision Eye Exam  Dr. Warren Johnson| Dr. Do Nguyen      901-763-2020          Memphis, Tennessee



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This entry was posted in Adult Sports Glasses, Kids Sports Glasses, national eye institute, Polarized Safety Sunglasses, Polarized sunglasses, Prescription Sports Sunglasses, Sports Contact Lenses, Trivex Safety lenses, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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