Contact lenses help athletes see better because the lenses sit right on the eye and provide a more natural field of vision than glasses. But that's not the only reason to wear them for football. The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that athletes should not wear regular glasses for football and recommends only two types of eyewear with contact lenses for sports -- special sport goggles or special protective eyewear attached to the helmet. Also, certain types of contact lenses may work better for football players.
Contact lenses come in two types of material, soft silicone and a harder plastic. Soft lenses are popular because they are generally less expensive and more comfortable, especially at first. Rigid lenses take a little more getting used to and cost more initially. More than 75 percent of contact lens wearers in the U.S. choose soft contacts, according to the Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan. However, some people do not have a choice as to what type of lens they can wear.
Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses are ideal for football and other sports because the lenses stay in place better than hard lenses, according to MayoClinic.com. Soft lenses are thin, comfortable and don't fall out as easily, which is important during contact sports such as football.
Rigid Gas Perm Lenses
Rigid Gas Perm lenses are a harder material than soft lenses. Doctors prescribe RGP lenses for athletes when soft lenses don't provide crisp vision, such as for astigmatism, a common vision condition related to the shape of the cornea. Soft lenses called toric contacts also correct astigmatism, but the Corneal and Contact Lens Society notes that RGP lenses are still best at correcting certain types of astigmatism. According to Prevent Blindness America, harder contact lenses can slip out of place easier than soft lenses, especially when you engage in vigorous physical activity or sports such as football.
A new hybrid lens is available that combines the benefits of regular soft lenses with an RGP lens. The new contact has an RGP center and a soft silicone outer ring. This kind of lens helps correct astigmatism, provides great oxygen transmission to the eye, which is important for eye health and stays in place better, which makes the lens ideal for athletes with astigmatism or other vision corrections requiring an RGP lens. Discuss with your eye care practitioner which type of lens works best for your individual vision needs when playing football.