The Best Contact Lenses for Athletes

Contact lenses are increasingly popular these days, including among athletes. But which are the best?

Serious athletes who need vision correction should consider contact lenses as a great option to reduce some of the negatives that glasses can have on athletic performance.

The Best Contact Lenses for Athletes in Olympia

Benefits Of Contact Lenses in Sports

Contact lenses have many advantages over glasses for athletes.

Improved vision with contact lenses during sports

Since contact lenses sit right on the surface of your eyes, you’ll get crisper vision, with fewer distortions. Additionally, unlike with glasses, your peripheral vision isn’t limited. You also don’t need to worry about reflections like you might need to with glasses.This gives the athlete better vision than glasses of the same strength could provide, which can help improve their performance and potentially also help avoid injury.

Glasses can also move around on your face as you engage in sporting activities and be a distraction, and there is also a risk they could get damaged. Especially in sports where you have to wear headgear, glasses can be more of a liability, and wearing contacts means you won’t need to find prescription eyewear for sports that require eye protection.

No worries about sweat messing with your eyewear, anything getting fogged up, or about having to make adjustments mid-game.


Water Sports: The Exception

Contact lenses are not recommended for use while you partake in water sports. This is because there’s a risk that bacteria in water can contaminate the lenses and cause infection. Prescription goggles are recommended for water sports.

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Ideal Contact Lens Options for Athletes

While contact lenses are clearly a good option for athletes who need vision correction, which types are best?

Daily disposable contact lenses for athletes

There aren’t contact lenses that are specifically made for sports. However, some types are better suited. One example is daily disposable lenses, which don’t require the same maintenance as reusable lenses. They are simple to keep extras available and don’t require cleaning. 

Soft lenses are usually a better option than hard contact lenses as they move around less and are less likely to fall out during sporting events. 


Hard contact lenses for athletes

Gas permeable lenses are sometimes recommended for use during sports, as they provide very crisp vision and are breathable, which can be helpful for the eyes as you move about a lot. While they are hard lenses (as opposed to daily disposables, which are soft), the increased performance they can provide may be worth it. 


Scleral Lenses for Athletes


When it comes to hard contact lenses for athletes, scleral lenses are often considered the best option. Athletes can benefit from scleral lenses, which offer amazing vision and provide great results during athletics. Athletes like Brandon Williams from the Baltimore Ravens, Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors, and Diamond DeShields from the Chicago Sky know this firsthand. These star athletes wear scleral contact lenses and now have sharp vision to display their true sporting abilities.

A few benefits of scleral lenses for athletes include: 

  • They are custom fit to the eye and therefore do not move around or get dislodged easily 
  • They are considered as having the best optical characteristics over any contact lens, this can make a big difference in sports performance which is so heavily dependant on vision. 
  • They are an ideal option for athletes that have a difficult time with soft contact lenses. Scleral lenses are generally prescribed for patients with corneal irregularities and severe dry eye that precludes them from wearing contact lenses. That is why they are sometimes referred to as “hard to fit contact lenses” or “medically necessary contact lenses”, which means that virtually any athlete can feel comfortable with

Ortho-K: Another Alternative

Ortho-k lenses are a lesser known vision correction alternative that can work extremely well for athletes. Unlike most other contact lenses, ortho-k lenses are worn only overnight. As they are worn at night, these lenses reshape the cornea to correct your vision, and you won’t need to wear anything in or on your eyes throughout the day.

For athletes, this means not having to worry about wearing anything on or in their eyes while engaging in sporting activities. No risk of discomfort from lenses, no risk of lenses falling out or getting out of position in the eyes, no risks of glasses breaking or moving around, all while enjoying crisp vision.

Ortho-K: Another Alternative
Ortho-K: Another Alternative

Ortho-K: Another Alternative

In the U.S, nearly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated in emergency rooms every year. Wearing appropriate protective eyewear can prevent 90% of serious eye injuries. For some athletes who prefer not to wear protective glasses, contact lenses are a great option as they are less likely to cause eye injuries.

Ortho-K: Another Alternative

Consult With A Professional

As always, it is advised to speak with our eye doctor if you are considering purchasing contact lenses, as they will be best able to discuss your individual needs and make the best possible recommendation for you.

Dr. Zurcher cartoon


Contact lenses can be a great vision correction option for athletes, providing clear vision without the problems that come from wearing glasses. For some, soft, daily disposable lenses are ideal as a low maintenance option, while others may prefer hard gas permeable lenses that can provide sharper vision to increase performance. For those that are looking for optimal comfort and visual clarity, they may consider scleral lenses. And finally, ortho-k lenses can enable an athlete to have clear, sharp vision all day without needing to wear anything in their eyes while engaging in sporting activities.

If you have any additional questions, or would like to schedule an appointment for an eye exam or contact lens fitting, you can contact American Family Vision Clinic at (360) 491-2121.


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Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

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