Athletes have unique vision needs. For many athletes, their particular sport may require more than 20/20 vision. Depth perception, peripheral vision and hand-eye coordination are all aspects of vision that may affect an athlete’s performance. Athletes who have less than perfect vision, or who suffer from refractive errors, may require vision correction.
There are numerous vision care options for an athlete, these include:
LASIK eye surgery – LASIK eye surgery can treat common vision problems caused by refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. LASIK can eliminate the need for athletes to wear contact lenses or eyeglasses while playing sports, providing stable vision, which may even improve an athlete’s performance. In addition, by undergoing LASIK, an athlete will no longer have to worry about breaking his or her eyeglasses, or losing a contact lens on the basketball court.
Contact lenses – Athletes with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism may benefit more from contact lenses than prescription eyeglasses. Contact lenses provide better peripheral vision and an unobstructed field of view for athletes. Additionally, contact lenses are less likely to become foggy and won’t get waters spots on them if playing sports outside in the rain. Contact lenses won’t break, as some eye glasses might, reducing risk of eye injury and are more compatible with sports safety equipment. Contact lenses can also be tinted or polarized to improve vision for certain sports.
Polycarbonate protective lenses – For athletes, protective eyewear can prevent up to 90% of sports-related eye injuries. Polycarbonate plastic lenses are 10 times stronger than other lenses, and better able to withstand direct contact during sports like racquetball, hockey and baseball.
Colored lenses – Lenses tinted with yellow are popular with skiers, snowboarders, cyclists and other athletes as they are known to help produce a sharper image in low light. Green-colored lenses are worn by many golfers and are thought to heighten contrast, making the white ball stand out against the green.
Polarized lenses – Designed to reduce glare from reflected surfaces. Sunglasses with polarized or mirrored lenses are popular with boaters, water skiers and snow skiers as they limit light coming into the eye in bright conditions.
Goggles and other eye protection – According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 42,000 sports-related eye injuries occur every year; 72 percent of these injuries occur in people younger than 25. Eye injury can lead to blindness, and many times injuries to the eye are entirely preventable. If you play sports like racquetball or lacrosse (among others), always wear protective eye wear. Hockey and football players as well as catchers in baseball and softball should wear face shields (cages or polycarbonate shields) to protect their eyes from injury caused by contact with a ball, puck or another athlete’s body. These shields should also be worn when playing paintball.
If you are considering LASIK eye surgery to correct your vision and reduce your dependence on contact lenses or eyeglasses, contact the Key-Whitman Eye Center for a free LASIK screening.