Sports participation is not just about physical fitness or elite athleticism, it is also character building (cliche but true) and important for mental well-being.
FACT. Children and adults who cannot see clearly without their glasses will opt out of participating in sport.
- Fear of failure causes too many spectacle wearers to give up sport because they have learnt not to enjoy it.
- Given opportunity and support most people can find a sport they can participate in that either allows them to keep their glasses on (tennis) or an acitivity where good vision does not matter (judo).
If a child finds distance vision blurry, feels uncomfortable without their glasses or struggles with depth perception (due to a lazy eye) this will stop them enjoying school sports. Skills learnt from playing sport are essential to a child’s all round development (mental, physical and team participation) so they should be encouraged to find a physical activity they can enjoy.
Adults who did not enjoy sport at school will be reluctant to get involved in sporting activity when it is their choice to do or not to do.
The Sports Eye Wear Industry has a world wide market. It manufactures frames and lenses that enhance vision for participation in sport, not just to be fashionable but also for ocular protection.
Most sports have the potential to be hazardous to the eye to some extent:
- they may use hard, fast moving projectiles that fit the eye socket, eg squash.
- they may take place in the open air increasing an individuals exposure to dust and UV, eg cycling
- they may expose the eye to noxious chemicals and /or pollutants, eg swimming.
For these reasons some sports require the use of goggles or some type of spectacles to protect your eyes, other sports benefit from the improved vision that contact lenses can provide.
Most adults can be fitted with contact lenses. This may seem an unnecessary expense for a leisure activity but will cost less than a pint of beer afterwards, new trainers and/or the cost of gym membership.
Children can be fitted with contact lenses as soon as they can understand the importance of hand hygiene and are able to insert and remove lenses themselves.For some children sport participation may mean them wearing contact lenses at a younger age than might otherwise be thought appropriate. The age at which a child commences contact lens wear is something that needs to be discussed by the child, the parent and an eye care specialist.