Can You Wear Eye Contacts While Playing Sports?

More than half of American adults have vision problems and have to wear corrective lenses, according to the All About Vision website. If you wear eyeglasses during your sport, you might question their safety. It is generally recommended to wear eye contacts while playing sports, because they have many benefits and may enhance sports performance.


According to the All About Vision website, there are many benefits to wearing contacts versus glasses when you play sports. Benefits include:

  • better peripheral vision
  • an unobstructed field of view
  • less chance of fogging or getting splattered related to the weather or environment
  • less chance of an injury related to broken glass
  • more stable vision
  • an easier fit with safety equipment
  • such as a face mask or goggles

RGP Contacts

You may wear soft contacts on a day-to-day basis, but rigid gas permeable, or RGP, lenses are an option for sports. RGP lenses have several advantages over soft contact lenses, according to All About Vision 1. RGP lenses keep their shape on your eye, which allows for better vision correction. RGP lenses also allow more oxygen to reach your eye, which allows for better comfort and longer wear, debris doesn't accumulate as well on RGP lenses because they are hard and you won't experience as much dry eye because RGP lenses don't absorb tears like soft lenses. Since RGP lenses are hard, they may take longer to get used to and may not initially be as comfortable as soft lenses. You may need to visit your eye doctor to ensure a good fit so they stay in place during sports.

Water Sports

Health risks associated with swimming in your contacts depend on the water and its microbe content. A water sport performed in a chlorinated pool or the ocean is much safer for your eyes than those performed in a lake or river, according to the AC Lens website. If you wear contacts in a pool, they can absorb chlorine and cause eye irritation. This discomfort is temporary and not serious and may be relieved by using artificial tears. It is also helpful to wait 30 minutes to remove your contacts after swimming in chlorine so they don't stick to your eyes. If you are in the ocean, contacts may fall off because of the salinity. You may benefit from wearing prescription swimming goggles in this case. RGP contacts may be good for land sports but should not be used in water because they are more likely to float off your eyes.

Proper Maintenance

Proper contact maintenance is essential whether you are playing land or water sports. Debris can form on your lenses if you are on the ground, and eye irritation and infection can occur if you are in the water. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience eye pain or lasting redness after playing any sport.